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Please click on the link below to watch this fun video recipe:
Please like the view and subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Please watch this video in which I show you how to make this recipe:
1 pound, grass-fed, preferably organic, ground beef
1 cup small diced oyster mushrooms
10 Castelvetrano olives, finely chopped
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon smoky paprika
1 teaspoon Siracha or similar hot sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1. Slowly heat a stainless-steel pan on low heat.
2. Prepare all of the ingredients and place them in a stainless-steel bowl.
3. With gloved hands or a firm spatula, mix the ingredients well.
3. Form medium-sized patties with the meat mixture. This should yield four patties.
4. Heat a skillet or large fry pan to medium heat, then add in a 1 tablespoon of grapeseed or light oil olive, swirl the oil around the pan, and add the burgers to the pan, lifting them every few seconds for the first minute to avoid their sticking to the pan. Once the burgers have cooked for about 2 minutes, turn the heat to medium low.
5. Cook the burgers to your desired doneness—I prefer medium, which usually takes about 4-5 minutes per side on medium-low heat.
6. Serve the burgers with your favorite bun and topping. I recommend a smashed avocado, caramelized onions, siracha and provolone, mozzarella-style regular or vegan cheese.
Serves 4, as a sauce/condiment
Check out this video which walks you through how to make this end of spring seasonal sauce:
1 cup fresh cherries, washed and cut in sixths
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup chenin blanc or sauvignon blanc (or any dry white wine)
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 ½ teaspoons yellow mustard seed
½ teaspoon ground fennel seed (roast the fennel for about 3 minutes in a pan, then grind it)
Salt, to taste (about ¼ teaspoon sea salt)
1. Prep all of the ingredients listed above. Preheat an oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Put the slivered cherries, olive oil, and a generous pinch of salt, about ¼ teaspoon, in a roasting dish. Put the cherries in the oven and bake for about 8 minutes. Your task is to just slightly caramelize and cook the cherries—you still want a little firmness and juiciness to each bite.
3. Place the balsamic vinegar, white wine, crushed garlic, lemon zest, yellow mustard seed, and ground fennel seed in a small sauce pot (make sure it is non-reactive—a stainless steel pot works well). Put the pot on medium-high heat. Cook the solution until it is reduced by 90%. Usually the solution can reduce at a medium heat until you are within a minute or two of reaching 90%; when you get close to that point, I recommend turning the heat down significantly because the liquid reduces quite quickly. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as it gets close to a 10% reduction.
4. Once the cherries are oven roasted and the mostarda base is cooked down, place all of the ingredients in the roasting dish (make sure that it is non-reactive) or in the saucepan. Stir the cherry mixture into the mostarda base and check it for salt. You may want to add another pinch of salt to balance the sauce.
5. Set the sauce aside at room temperature for at least two hours to let the flavors mingle and the mustard seed infuse with the cherry liquid. You can make the sauce ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for about a week before serving, but fresh sauce is always best.
6. Serve the sauce on top of brined and roasted pork chops, or roasted duck or chicken.
Check out the video below which walks you through how to make this fresh spring sauce:
1 cup fresh peas
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh mint
¼ teaspoon sea salt (plus sea salt to cook and cool the peas)
1. Fill a medium-sized pot with filtered water (or tap if necessary) and place it on the stove. Turn the heat on high until the water boils. Add generous amount of salt, so that the water is slightly salty.
2. While the water is heating, pick the peas. For 1 cup of fresh peas, I recommend purchasing a pound of peas in their shells. If possible, use fresh peas—this recipe highlights the essence of fresh spring peas. That said, if you want to make this recipe with frozen peas, make sure that they are organic.
3. Place very cool or iced water in a medium-large bowl. Slightly salt this water mixture with a ¼ teaspoon of salt.
4. Place the peas into the boiling water and cook them for about 4-5 minutes. The time will depend on the size of your peas. Aim to just barely cook the peas through. You do not want any hard pea pieces when you bite in, but you do want firmness and certainly, no mushiness. Once the peas are just cooked through, lift them out of the water with a slotted spoon or strainer, and place them in the cool water.
2. While the peas cook, prepare and gather all of the other ingredients.
3. Place the ingredients in a food processor. Lift the peas out of the cool water, shake off any excess water, and place them in the processor.
4. Process the ingredients until they form a puree, which is a smooth cohesive sauce.
5. Check the puree for salt and balance. You may want to add in a very small squeeze of lemon to balance the acidity, but if you do this, I recommend serving the puree immediately—the juice might oxidize the mixture.
6. Serve the Fresh Pea and Mint Puree on top of poached eggs, roasted or grilled chicken, pork, or duck, or use it as a seasonal topping for a burger.
Please watch my YouTube video which walks you through how to make this sauce: https://youtu.be/3rfVQ3GQXPs
The strawberry, often assigned the role of a dessert star or fruit bowl favorite, deserves more attention in the main entrée section as a secret weapon in sauces. The acidic and sweet dance of fruit in a savory dish creates a dynamic and complex flavor scale. Roasting the berries generates a depth of favor, slight give, and caramelized hint that takes the average berry and elevates it to new heights. By roasting the berries, even less-than-ripe berries transform into sweet drops that will make you jump.
Pairing roasted strawberries with asparagus cooked al dente and diced, a small amount of lemon and garlic, and a fine chop of mint yields a relish that captures spring’s bounty and nods towards summer. These five ingredients sing their highest pitch during March and April, and together they create a flavor profile worthy of a wide range of dishes, such as delicate pan-roasted duck breast, tender poached scallops, a brined and roasted pork tenderloin, or a tangle of seared oyster mushrooms. While you can roast strawberries and juice and zest the lemon a few hours before assembling the sauce, I recommend cooking the asparagus and mixing the ingredients together right before you serve the relish to avoid muting the flavors and oxidizing the asparagus or mint.
15 medium asparagus spears
5-6 medium strawberries
½ teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 medium garlic clove, crushed
1 tablespoon mint, chopped (about 6-7 leaves)
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
(Serves 4-5 as a entree sauce)
There are just a few ingredients that singly sing as strongly to winter’s bounty as blood oranges and fennel. When I was a little girl growing up on the East Coast, when the freezing rain would not turn into snow and the cloudy light would not give into sun, I would dream of fleeing this darkness to a land where at least humans could cull food from the earth no matter the time of year. In my early 20’s I was lucky enough to save enough money to make my California escape. Now, winter means citrus, herbs and greens leaping towards low light, stalks of fennel beginning their slow, months long climb towards the sun.
Each day is a blessing no matter where you live, and now even in the smallest East Coast cities one can find fennel bulbs and at least Navel, if not Blood Oranges. For this recipe, if you cannot find Moro or another variety of Blood Orange, you can easily and tastefully substitute with Navel or Cara Cara Oranges, or even try a Ruby Red grapefruit.
This sauce that is very much like a fresh salsa pairs well with any fish or seafood, from crab to shrimp to salmon to halibut. The key is to prepare it just before or as you cook these proteins—avocado, even with the addition of citrus, will most likely not retain its vibrant color beyond a day. This sauce can easily also serve as a health-forward, delicious dip for chips, crackers, or mixed sliced vegetables. If you would like to see the YouTube video that walks you through how to make this sauce, please click on the following link: https://youtu.be/nN4NFMpVQpk
1 fennel bulb, remove the core and tough outer layer, medium dice it (should yield about 2/3rds cup cooked)
1 tablespoon of olive oil to cook the fennel in and another teaspoon to finish
3/4 cup avocado, medium diced
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped blood orange zest
1/3 cup blood orange segments, cut in quarters
1 1/2 teaspoons blood orange juice
1 tablespoon finely chopped chive or cilantro
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
Serves 4 as an entree/meal or six as an appetizer
This recipe calls on the earlier blog recipe for Chive and Sage Cornbread, and dresses it up into a savory meal. You can serve this dish for brunch, lunch or dinner, it is delicious warm or cold, and nothing beats it flexibility. While the ingredients here work so well together, you can easily play with this base recipe to express your seasonally creative side. Consider substituting the herbs listed below with pea green in the spring or basil in the summer. The oyster mushrooms can be replaced with morels in the spring as well, or consider a more drastic switch such as roasted peppers in the summer. Instead of capers, brined green olives or caper berries could add another dimension. The point is, once you master the basics of bread pudding, or of any dish, you can customize what you put in the pan or baking dish to what you enjoy and what you can get at the height of ripeness.
As a new feature to this blog, I have created a YouTube channel, and this is the first recipe to be featured! Please check it out, like this video, and subscribe to and share the channel. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDK5AAQDms8
4 cups gluten and dairy free cornbread
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
2 large eggs, beaten
3 cups oyster mushrooms, which should cook down to approximately 3/4 cup cooked*
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons smoky cheddar cashew butter (or another savory type of cashew butter)
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 teaspoon smoky paprika
1/2 tablespoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon fresh parsley
a dash of cayenne
1. Preheat an oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.Cut the cornbread into 1 inch squares. Put the squares on a parchment lined sheet tray or a baking sheet and toast them in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until they are dried on the sides and slightly golden in color.
3. While the bread squares are toasting, sauté the oyster mushrooms.
A. Pull the mushrooms apart so that they are in evenly thin strains or chunks, about 1/2 inch in thickness.
B. Heat up a sauté pan until it is hot, add in a tablespoon of olive oil to lightly coat the pan, and immediately throw in the mushrooms. The ‘shrooms will melt and release liquid before browning. Once the ‘shrooms slightly brown, add a little salt, and remove them from the pan. Set the ‘shrooms aside to cool.
4. Turn the oven up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5. Assemble all of the ingredients so they are easily accessible.
6. Mix the eggs and almond milk together in a large stainless steel bowl, then whisk in all of the other ingredients except for the cornbread squares.
7. Once the other ingredients are whisked in, fold in the cornbread squares and mix until well incorporated.
6. Oil a baking dish with a thin coating of olive oil.
7. Pour the pudding mixture into a baking dish and gently even out the mixture.
8. Place the dish in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes. When finished cooking, you should be able to place a fork in the center and it should come out mostly clean of egg material (the fork will be most, but large egg chunks won’t cling to it).
9. Once cooked, pull the pudding out of the oven and let it cool and set for at least 10-15 minutes. The pudding can be served warm or set aside in the refrigerator for a meal the following day, or in two or three days.
The soft crumb and tender moisture of cornbread is unmatched by any other bread. For winter festivities this bread can easily be made into savory stuffing, served as a side to an entrée, or sliced in half lengthwise for a post-celebratory sandwich of leftovers. This recipe elevates the usual cornbread by adding honey and freshly harvested herbs, which infuses the bread with a sweet floral aroma and taste.
So many of the wheat, and thus gluten heavy dishes that exist in our cuisine are completely unnecessary. I’m convinced that wheat flour is the base in the bulk of recipes that it appears in simply because it is cheap and readily available, not for the texture, flavor, and almost nonexistent health benefits that it contains. There is no need to use wheat flour in cornbread. By mixing the cornmeal with white rice flour, one avoids gluten and wheat allergens while maintaining the lightness and balance that a mild flour imparts. This recipe easily replaces buttermilk’s sweet tang by adding apple cider vinegar to unsweetened almond milk, which makes the bread available to those with dairy allergies.
For a winter warming stuffing, once the bread is cooled, cut it into small squares and let it air dry for a day or two or set it in a convection oven at 200 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes, turning it occasionally to ensure even drying.
1 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup medium ground cornmeal
1 cup white rice flour (for more health benefits, try brown rice flour)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup honey
¼ cup thinly sliced fresh chives
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
½ teaspoon salt
Dash of cayenne pepper powder
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Add the vinegar to the almond milk, mix, and set aside for 10 minutes.
3. Whisk together the acidulated milk and cornmeal, and set the mix aside for 10 minutes.
4. Combine the white rice flour, cayenne, baking soda and powder, and salt in another bowl. Mix these ingredients together.
5. After the 10 minutes have passed, add the olive oil, honey, eggs, and chopped herbs to the cornmeal/almond milk mixture. Whisk these ingredients together.
6. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry, and mix well.
7. Divide the corn bread batter into two glass baking dishes coated in a thin layer of olive oil.
8. Place the dishes in the oven and cook the mixture for about 20-25 minutes. Midway through the cooking process, turn the dishes around in the oven to ensure even baking. Test to see if the cornbread is cooked after 20 minutes. If the bread is cooked, one should be able to place a toothpick or fork in the center that comes out clean of batter, with only an occasional crumb clinging to it.
9. Let the bread cool for about 20 minutes before serving. If you do not want to serve the bread immediately, once cooled, cover it. The cornbread can last for a few days out of the refrigerator or up to a 10 days in the frige.
(Yields 20 medium-sized cookies)
The great benefit and sometimes soul gripping pain of the gluten and dairy free diet often revolves around the dessert dilemma. In most restaurants and cafes, the only options rest in fluffy flour-based and tongue coating dairy rooted sweets. If lucky enough, those with these food allergies might encounter fruit-focused sorbets or a cup of berries (usually not seasonal at all and pretty tasteless). In many ways, for all of the exploration and fusion our modern cuisine has taken on, in desserts we have as a whole remained stagnant and stuck in unhealthy and ‘indulgent’ ingredients that not only contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and cancer but that also add unnecessary calories that don’t enhance our overall health.
My aim in the sweet recipes I offer is to break the myth that in order to be indulgent and ‘sinful’ a dish has to destroy our health. We should be able to feel better than before eating something because it should help us heal or take us to the next level of fortitude and vigorousness. In other words, dessert and sweet snacks can be nourishing, taste ‘sinful,’and make our salivary glands kick into release, without having any negative impacts on our health. Yes, this recipe is sweet, but the sweetness is derived from mostly natural sugars and balanced with a decent amount of protein and limited carbohydrates for a sweet treat without severely negative health impacts.
If one follows the Food Maps diet or has SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), consider switching out the coconut flour and cream with rice flour and milk (if you can tolerate it, almond milk and flour taste delicious as well). For vegans, I recommend using agave nectar instead of honey. Why not make desserts a place for continual health growth and cut out those weight impacting, health destroying ingredients?
2/3 cup coconut flour
½ cup gluten free oats
½ cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons brown sesame seeds
2 tablespoons shredded coconut
¾ cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet, nondairy, organic, if possible)
1 tablespoon peanut or almond butter
2 very ripe bananas*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon honey
5 tablespoons coconut cream (what floats to the top of a can of coconut milk)
Sea salt, to taste
*1. For the bananas, I suggest taking over-ripe bananas and placing them in the freezer until you are ready to make the cookies. Before mixing the ingredients together, thaw the bananas and the resulting texture is perfect for baking.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Place the wet ingredients in a stainless steel bowl and mix them together. In a separate stainless steel bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Then add the wet to the dry ingredients and fold them together until the ingredients are evenly distributed.
4. Place parchment paper on a sheet tray or baking pan, and grease the sheet with a thin coat of the vegan butter.
5. Form the cookies and place them on the parchment paper. I suggest making each cookie about 1½-2 tablespoons each, forming the dough into little balls, and then shaping the cookies.
6. Bake the cookies for about 30-35 minutes, turning them halfway through to ensure even cooking.
Today I went to the farmers’ market, tempted by the end of summer tomatoes, peppers, squash, berries, and grapes that hit northern California in abundance in early October. While a few vendors sold baskets of strawberries, this one organic farm had the small, vine-ripened strawberries at the peak of ripeness.
These small, perfectly red in the center berries vividly usher forth memories of berry harvesting with my grandma, Ginny Myers, and the fruit crumbles she would make. Whenever my sister and I would visit our grandparents on that verdant Pennsylvania hillside, they would send us to harvest the strawberries as part of our morning routine.
Grandma gave me my first lesson in ripeness. She sat us down early one summer morning on the grass near the strawberry ‘hill,’ she and grandpa had planted several years earlier. The dew rose into the chill air infecting it with sweetness, and the songs of bluebirds amplified and receded as the birds moved from peach tree to grape vines hugging the wooden fence. She held a berry with her garden-worn fingers and bit into it, turned the inside out to face us. With her lips slightly red from the berry, Grandma looked from us to the berry whose crimson heart glistened in the humid light: “This is ripeness: the berry has to be red throughout its heart. Those supermarket berries get picked too early and don’t taste good—the white center is how you tell the berry isn’t ripe. Go for this!”
For this recipe you want those red-hearted berries packed with a dance of acidic sweetness. Handle gently and cook with them as soon as you get home from the market. The other ingredients can easily be purchased online or at the local co-op or health food store. While this crumble is astonishingly easy and fast to make, the coconut’s warm nutty-spice creates a complex contrast to the berries’ bright savor. Enjoy the crumble with a dollop of sweetened coconut cream.
2 cups of fresh strawberries
½ cup coconut flour
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon organic sugar
2 tablespoon vegan butter
pinch of sea salt
4 tablespoons coconut cream, whipped
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Submerge the berries in a bowl filled with cool water, then gently spread them on an unbleached paper towel or clean kitchen towel.
3. Cut the large berries in ½ and ¼ the very large berries (the smaller, sweetest berries, just leave whole).
4. Place the berries in a thick layer on a medium-small glass or ceramic baking dish.
5. Make the topping: mix the coconut flour, sugar, and shredded coconut together, and add in the vanilla extract and pinch of sea salt. With a spatula or fork, fold and mix in the vegan butter until you have a rough paste.
6. Evenly distribute the topping over the berries, and place the dish in the oven.
7. Bake the mixture for about 18-20 minutes. The topping will turn a golden brown color and the berries will soften slightly in the oven.
8. Remove the dish from the heat and let it cool for about 20-30 minutes.
9. Divide the crumble into four even portions.
10. Spoon a dollop of sweetened coconut cream on the top, and serve.
(Serves 5, at 3 plum halves per person)
One of my favorite summertime experiences is how, over the course of a few months, green, firm plum globes swell into dark purple fruits. Every year the miracle of growth hits me when from what was once barren branches, then cascading flowers, then green leaves, then tiny knobs of fruit, finally such tender, yeast-dusted treasures expand out into hot summer air.
This recipe captures ripe plums’ perfect balance of sweetness and acidity in an elegant and simple manner. The mouth-coating quality of coconut oil contrasts with the acidity that gets accentuated by balsamic vinegar’s kiss, and the sage slowly infuses the plums with its warm herbaceous lift.
Sage-Roasted Plums can be paired with a variety of proteins such roasted or grilled pork, duck, or chicken. You can also make this dish as a compliment to any seasonal vegetarian meal. If you cannot locate Santa Rosa plums, another variety should work as well, but the Santa Rosas have such a powerful depth of flavor and balance that I prefer to use them. This is one of the most straightforward and easy dishes to prepare, but the complex and leg-kicking flavor will stay in your mind for weeks after dining on these gems.
8 Santa Rosa plums (or a similar, purple/red skinned plum)
16 fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Wash and cut the plums in half. Cut out the pits with a sharp pairing knife.
3. Place the plum halves skin side down and flesh side up in a large baking dish or sheet tray.
4. Distribute the coconut oil and balsamic evenly on the pit dimple of each plum half.
5. Place one sage leaf on each plum half.
6. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each plum.
7. Place the plums in the oven for about 15 minutes
8. After 15 minutes, pull the plums from the oven and place them aside to set for about 3 minutes before serving. You can set aside the plums to serve later or to have as a snack by carefully placing them in a storage container and holding them in the refrigerator for a few days (no more than 2 days).
In summer’s height, you can walk into a garden and the abundance will hit your fingers as they strike tomato, pepper, eggplant, squash, fig, and basil. The challenge built into summer cooking is what to cook tonight and what to put off cooking until tomorrow. Beans and cherry tomatoes ripened on the vine naturally grow alongside basil leaves. By adding in preserved lemons you bring a bright, briny unami kick to the summer flavors.
Fresh green beans behave and taste very differently from the uniform greenhouse grown and imported beans. The local beans show less uniformity and often have much more flavor and bite. By cutting the beans into medium-thick slices, the aroma and spice of the lemon, tomato, and hot pepper can penetrate without taking away the bean flavor and texture. Pick green beans that are medium-sized and still firm—you want to avoid bloated or immature beans and aim for a consistent size. Clip off the stems and long pointy ends first, then slice the beans on the bias (on the slant). Salt the blanching water and the ice-bath to give the beans even seasoning and maintain the texture.
Please refer to the previous recipe on The Blog (Poached Scallops) for information on how to purchase Calabrian peppers and either purchase or make preserved lemons.
3 cups fresh green beans, medium diced/sliced on a bias
¾ cup cherry tomatoes, whole (Sun Gold or Black Cherry tomatoes are preferred)
1 tablespoon preserved lemon, small diced (rinse, cut out the pith, and small dice the skin)
1 teaspoon Calabrian hot pepper, small diced (or a Jalapeno, small diced)
¼ cup fresh basil leaves, torn in half (right before serving)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. Bring a medium-large pot of salted water to a boil.
2. Add in the sliced green beans, and cook them for about 3-4 minutes, until they are not hard and stringy but still have a bite (al dente!).
3. Pull the green beans from the water and place them in salted ice water to cool.
4. Pull the cooled green beans out of the water and place them on a sheet tray covered with parchment paper or large plate covered with unbleached paper towels to drain.
5. Heat up the oil in a large sauté pan on medium-high heat.
6. Add in the green beans, cherry tomatoes, preserved lemon, and Calabrain hot pepper, and sauté until barely cooked through, about 3-4 minutes.
7. Right before removing the pan from the heat, add in the torn basil, and then pull the pan from the heat.
8. Serve the green beans immediately (these beans will turn dark green if you let them sit around for a while before serving—the acid in the lemon and tomato will cause this to happen.) You can pre-blanch the beans, pull them from the ice-bath, drain them, and then place them in a container for about two days if you wish to complete through step four ahead of time.
9. This recipe creates a versatile side dish that pairs with most meats, fish, or vegetarian entrees.
(Serves 4 as an entrée protein)
When the summer’s sun casts down upon your body, and you are sweating and craving something to cool yet awaken you to the ecstatic mystery of flavor, make this dish. Poached scallops are a quick protein to prepare, and as long as they are fresh, their softness will sing to this mouth-igniting sauce. Castelvetrano olives’ briny base and floral fresh oregano’s floral hint temper the bright umami of preserved lemons and fermented Calabrian chili peppers. This sauce contrasts with the mellow scallop flavor to leave your mouth so spinning it will cool down your summer-fevered body.
If you do not have your own fish stock handy, you can make your own with almost any white fish bones, a bay leaf, fresh parsley, a touch of white wine, and water. Of course in most grocery or fish stores now you can find stock prepared for you. You can purchase Calabrian peppers online through numerous stores, but the only brand I am familiar with is Tutto Calabria. If you cannot procure the Calabrian peppers in time, you can use Jalapeno or Serrano peppers to taste. Preserved lemons are also now widely available in many supermarkets and online. I prefer to make my own preserved lemons and recommend Paula Wolfert’s recipe in The Slow Mediterranean Cookbook. If you wish to use an online recipe, this recipe basically is Wolfert’s preserved lemon recipe: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016212-preserved-lemons . It can take several weeks to prepare the lemons, so if you decide to make your own, you will want to prepare ahead. While Caper leaves are harder to come by, you can find them in gourmet or Italian markets, as well as online through a variety of retailers. If you cannot find caper leaves, you can use the same amount of capers.
While the sauce is designed to fit this scallop dish, you can use it on a variety of proteins such as any white fish, salmon, roasted chicken or pork, poached eggs, or grilled tofu.
2 tablespoons preserved lemons, rinsed, removed of flesh, and small diced the skin
4 tablespoons Castelvetrano olives, rinsed and small diced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
½ teaspoon Calabrian hot pepper, minced (or a minced Jalapeno)
½ teaspoon caper leaves, chopped (or capers)
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pinch of sea salt
1. Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan.
2. On low heat, slowly heat the mixture until it comes to a slow simmer and blooms out fragrance, then pull from the heat to rest. This should only take about 2 minutes.
3. Serve the sauce at room temperature over poached scallops.
4 cups of fish broth/fume
5 sprigs of thyme
1 pound sea scallops
Sea salt, enough to make the poaching liquid salty like the sea
1. Place the fish broth, thyme, and salt in a shallow stockpot.
2. Bring the broth up to a slow simmer.
3. Add in the scallops and cook them for about 2.5-3 minutes, or until medium-rare.
4. Pull the scallops from the liquid with a slotted spoon or strainer.
5. Lay the scallops out in an even layer on a plate covered with unbleached paper towels.
6. Place the scallops in the refrigerator to cool.
7. Serve the scallops on individual plates, about 3-4 per person, and top with the preserved lemon sauce. Garnish with a pinch of fresh herbs, like parsley, basil, or dill.
8. Save the fish stock by placing it in a glass container and freezing it.
Spice-Infused Crispy Polenta Cakes
(Serves 6-7 as an entrée)
Once you start exploring beyond the wheat-diary duo overemphasized in most American diets, gluten and dairy-free friendly carbohydrates come in many forms. The ancient polenta strain of corn has been cultivated in Italy for centuries, and this ancient grain shows a versatile and flexible flavor profile that lends itself to a variety of combinations. The usual note that cooks play with polenta is to add a bunch of cheese and sometimes cream, but this is often an easy play that is not necessary. This recipe boosts the corn flavor inherent in the polenta by adding in spices that build the flavor from the ground up and infuse the grain with a round, simultaneous sharp and mouth-pleasing depth.
This recipe will give you enough polenta to make about 20 small cakes. For a dinner side dish, I like to serve three cakes per person, but you can certainly adjust this to fit your dining style. If you would like to reserve some of the polenta cakes for another meal, simply leave them in the dish after cutting and cover with plastic wrap or parchment paper. While you need to plan ahead about a night before to cool the polenta so that it solidifies before you roast it in the oven, the cakes last for quite some time, and depending on the group you serve, can be used for multiple meals. The cakes should last about five days in the refrigerator, and while they can be oven roasted in the manner described in the recipe below, they can also be simply eaten cold (at step 11) or gently warmed in the oven or a pan.
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon Serrano pepper, minced
1 teaspoon fennel seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
3 tablespoons brown sesame seeds
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1. Combine the above ingredients in a large, heavy bottom pot.
2. Turn heat on medium low and gently heat to bloom out and slightly toast the mixture—you want to heat the ingredients until they are aromatic and slightly simmering, add the polenta, and then follow with the water.
2 cups polenta, rinsed in a fine mesh strainer (this removes unwanted starch from the corn fragments)
8 cups water (I preferred to use reverse osmosis water)
2 teaspoons sea salt
3 tablespoons smoky paprika powder
1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper (grind it fresh for this recipe)
1 tablespoon sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon oregano, finely chopped
1 tablespoon rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons +_ to coat a glass dish to cool the polenta, and 3 tablespoons to roast the polenta in step 12
3. Constantly stir the polenta on medium-high heat until it comes to a simmer, then turn it down to low. You really need to stir it consistely, like every 1-3 minutes at this phase, or you might burn the polenta to the bottom of the pan.
4. Add in the smoky paprika, sea salt, and black pepper and stir until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed.
5. Throughout the cooking process, you need to stir polenta, so do not wander too far from the stove for more 2-4 minutes. See the video here for a demonstration on how to stir the polenta: https://youtu.be/FRrB8AT89lY
6. After about an hour of cooking, add in the herbs.
7. Cook the polenta for about 1.5 hours total. Taste the polenta to ensure that there are no hard corn fragments; if there are hard fragments, continue to cook the polenta until they are slightly soft.
8. Spread a thin layer of olive oil on the base and sides of a large, preferably rectangular, glass baking dish. Then scoop the polenta out into the baking dish and spread it evenly against the dish. If you do not have a large baking dish, divide the polenta into small glass dishes, but aim for about 2 inches of height for the polenta in each pan.
9. Refrigerate the polenta overnight so that it forms into a solid mass.
10. The next day or so, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
11. With a sharp knife, cut the polenta in the baking dish into about 20 small rectangular pieces. This recipe yields a significant amount of polenta, so decide how much you want to cook and you can always use the rest for another meal later in the week.
12. Place the polenta cakes in a well-oiled baking dish. The amount of oil you use will depend on how many polenta cakes you cook and the size of the dish, but aim for a shallow fry that covers about a ¼ of each cake. Place the polenta cakes in the oven.
13. Cook the polenta cakes on eachside for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Start cooking the cakes with the side that was in contact with the baking dish in the refrigerator facing upwards and the other facing up: this will help dry out the moister side before you fry it.
14. Once the cakes are browned, place them briefly on a paper towel to drain the oil, and then plate. Garnish with fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, or chive.
Indulge in a moist and flavorful cake without worrying about the negative health benefits associated with diary products and nutrient deprived flours. This cake delivers all of the alluring tastes of a dairy-rich dessert by creating a similar taste and texture with other ingredients. This is a dessert recipe that is actually healthy for you, except for the sugar! The antioxidant packed tangy combination of raspberries and chocolate backed with the mouth melt of sugary vegan butter will leave you tapping your foot in ecstasy. The almond and chickpea flours contain a significant amount of fiber, which will mitigate the sugar rush often associated with cakes. I served this cake to a group of my students in celebration of a student's birthday, and no one knew that it was gluten and dairy free until I surprised them at the end. Try to fool the people in your life with a big slice of chocolate raspberry cake.
3½ cups fine almond flour
1 cup chickpea flour
1½ teaspoons baking soda
1½ teaspoons baking powder
1 cup frozen raspberries
11/3 cup brown sugar (make sure to break up the clumps)
1/8teaspoon sea salt
13/4 cup vanilla almond milk (or any non-diary, vanilla flavored milk)
½ cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
14 ounces diary free, vegan whipped butter
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ cup fresh raspberries
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Measure out the wet and dry ingredients into separate bowls (add the dry ingredients to a larger bowl).
3. Add the wet to the dry ingredients—be sure to evenly mix both ingredient sets so that there are no dry pockets or lumps.
4. Dab a paper towel with neutral oil, such as almond, grape seed, avocado, or a light olive oil. Spread the oil into two baking pans that are preferably about 9.5 inches in circumference.
5. Divide the batter evenly into each pan, and with a spatula, spread the batter into each pan.
6. Cook the cakes for 30-40 minutes. You can test to see if the cakes are cooked through by piercing a fork through the center, and if the fork comes out clean, the cakes are cooked. If the fork still has wet batter clinging to it, then allow the cakes to cook a little longer.
7. Once the cakes are done, pull them from the oven and let them cool for about 10-20 minutes before removing them from the pans. You can use a butter knife to loosen the edges of cakes if they cling to the pans.
8. Set the cakes aside to cool on a wire rack, or if you do not have a wire rack, on a pan or cool plate. As the cakes cool, make the frosting (if you would like to, you could cook the cake ahead of time and let it cool for 1-2 days in the refrigerator before adding the frosting).
9. To prepare the frosting, place the whipped butter in a large stainless steel pan or mixer. Mix the butter briefly to make it smooth. Add in the other ingredients while stirring or mixing the icing. Aim for a smooth texture with no clumps. If the icing is too firm, consider adding just a drop of almond milk, but wait until you are sure that the frosting is too firm—it takes several minutes of stiff stirring if you are mixing by hand to create the smooth icing.
10. With a spatula, spread the icing in an even layer over each cake and its sides. Aim for an even, thick coat. Once you have achieved this, carefully lift one cake on top of another with two large, clean spatulas. Check the cakes for smoothness and do not hesitate to add more frosting to make the cake look smooth.
11. Garnish the top of the cake with fresh raspberries, cut it into slices, and serve. If you want to prepare the cake ahead of time, it should last for several days in the refrigerator, just wait to put the fresh raspberries on until just before served.