I’ve really been wanting to try my hand at making cheese at home. Ricotta keeps calling me – it’s simple and looks wonderful. BUT. It involves a quart of whole milk and I know that Novio and I will devour it fairly soon after I make it. I also know it’ll be absolutely delicious going down the hatch but I don’t really want to be around to witness all the bloaty- why-did-I-just-do-that-to-myself after-effects.
My Food Bloggers group celebrated healthy food at the start of the year. One of the offerings, created quite a buzz and flew off the table. The perfect antidote to my little cheese dilemma. Cathy Arkle, of She Paused for Thought, brought cashew cheese with flaxseed crackers. A cheese alternative made from cashew nuts! And homemade crackers that were not only delicious but vegan and gluten-free too. This would be perfect for our next gathering. Yes, I like to try new things on unsuspecting friends. If it didn’t work out, I’d roast the rest of the cashews and call it a day.
I discovered that real men (and women) do indeed eat cheese alternatives …. that is, if you don’t tell them ahead of time. This what I got:
Try this, Frank. You’ll love it. It’s a cheese alternative. He grabbed a cracker. He dipped. He paused. “Ehhhh….?, he quizzically responded. What do you mean, ehhh? I took a cracker and dipped into the cheese. It’s delicious.
Cathy, you’re right. Readers, take note. If you’re going to do this, put it out first. Explain later.
So without further ado, I present to you Cathy Arkle’s Cashew Cheese and Flaxseed Crackers. And to delight your senses, be sure to visit her website, She Paused for Thought.
Click on the links below to see Cathy’s posts and admire her photography:
For the cheese, I soaked raw cashews in water overnight. Then, I drained them and added a bit of olive oil, garlic, sea salt and lemon juice. That’s it. No fooling.
Then I pulled out the cheesecloth. I’ve had cheesecloth in the drawer in my kitchen for years. Sometimes I use it to make a little herb bundle or bouquet garni for my soup. But mostly, it just sits there. Here was an opportunity to use it. I happily pulled it out and cut a nice piece of it. At last!
(sorry, couldn’t help it)
from Cathy Arkle’s She Paused for Thought
1 c. whole blanched cashews
¼ c. lemon juice
3 T. olive oil
1 clove garlic, diced
1 t. sea salt
Place cashews in medium bowl, and cover with 3 inches cold water. Let soak 24 hours. Drain soaking liquid, rinse cashews under cold running water, and drain again.
Purée cashews, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and ½ cup cold water in food processor 6 minutes, or until very smooth and creamy.
Place large strainer over bowl, and line with triple layer of cheesecloth. Scoop cashew mixture into cheesecloth. Bring corners and sides of cloth together, and twist around cheese, forming into orange-size ball and squeezing to help extract moisture. Secure with rubber band or kitchen twine. Chill 12 hours, or overnight. Discard excess liquid.
Makes about 1 ½ cups.
The crackers are made with flax seeds and chia seeds.
Bake until dry and the edges curl.
OK, Break it up, I said, Break it up!
from Cathy Arkle’s She Paused for Thought
1 c. flax seeds
3 T. chia seeds
1 c. water
½ t. sea salt
½ t. coriander
1/4 t.freshly ground black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper (to taste)
Preheat oven to 200°F.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, soak flax and chia seeds in water for 20 minutes.
Add the rest of the seasonings to the seeds and mix well.
Spread the mixture evenly on parchment paper-lined baking sheet and for an hour and a half. Flip it over and bake for another hour and a half.
Turn the heat off and let it cool inside the oven.
Once cooled, break it into free-form pieces.
PS There was no cashew cheese left and only a few crumbs remained of the flaxseed crackers.I think I’ll be doing this again. And again and again.
What can I say about my brother-in-law, Bill? Without pulling a lot of platitudes out of the hat? Yes, he’s the best brother you could ever wish for. Yes, as Annie says, “Everybody loves Bill.” He’s so kind and so bright and so humble. And he has this little mischievous streak that goes hand-in-hand with that little smile and twinkle in his eyes, usually followed by a wide-eyed, “Who? Me?” look and little chuckle.
It was his birthday a couple of weeks ago and he downplayed it. Spent the day eating… first at work with the sizable gang who admire and respect him and lovingly call him Mr. Bill, then with a small fraction of those who always enjoy being with him, including me and Novio.
What do I make him? Knowing him and knowing me, you know it’s going to be something edible. And probably something that includes chocolate… the darker, the better.
Annie always has a bag of almonds for Bill in the pantry, but that bag tends to get parked right in the middle of the kitchen table.
Bill works very hard. When he is home and if you can’t find him, he’s probably holed up in the pantry, munching on raisins, or dried apricots or cherries. He likes dried fruit.
They can be a stunt double for dried sour cherries in a pinch. You didn’t hear this from me.
Another little known fact about Bill. He loves paper and pens. Give him a pen and he tries it out by writing in that sweet little precise engineer-type handwriting of his. What does he write?
“This is a nice pen.”
And then he sits back and contemplates it with a little smile and nod of his head.
Dark Chocolate Nutty Granola Bites
Ingredients:8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken or coarsely chopped 1 c. homemade granola (see note below) 3/4 c. raw whole almonds, cut in half around the equator 3/4 c. dried fruit (a combo of chopped apricots, chopped sour cherries, raisins, cranberries) pinch of sea salt
Have all ingredients ready to stir into melted chocolate.
Melt half the broken or chopped chocolate in a medium glass bowl at half-power for one minute. Stir quickly with a spoon. If it’s not thoroughly melted, microwave at half-power for another minute. Add remainder of chopped chocolate. Stir thoroughly until completely melted and smooth. If there are still a few lumps, microwave at half-power for a half-minute more and stir.
Add granola, almonds, dried fruit and pinch of salt to melted chocolate and stir thoroughly to combine.
Using 2 teaspoons, spoon about a teaspoon into mini muffin paper liners which are on a cookie sheet or place teaspoon-sized mounds directly on a waxed paper-lined cookie sheet.
Place in freezer for 20 minutes to set.
Stores well in refrigerator or freezer.
No granola in the house? Toast 1 cup of old fashioned oatmeal (AKA rolled oats) and 1 cup of halved raw almonds in a pre-heated 350° oven for 8 minutes. Then proceed as directed.
For a great, healthy granola recipe, click here.
Chocolate Bites are inspired by a Passover favorite, Matzoh Farfel Nut Clusters, click here.
Makes about 20 pieces.
of course, here’s your really BIG gift…
There were so many wonderful things that happened as a result of the nephrology conference I was part of last month. Several innovative studies resonated strongly. If reading about the particulars of this kidney-related stuff isn’t your bag… skip ahead to the image of the Meyer lemons and continue reading… you will be rewarded with a terrific recipe for a delicious lemon cake.
In the early days of my journey with kidney dialysis, my diet was severely restricted. Restricted in ways that’s foreign to most people. The more nutrients that fruits and vegetables have, paradoxically, the less I could partake in them. Case in point– dark green leafy vegetables, the greener the vegetable the more potassium it contains, the more dangerous it is for someone with limited or no kidney function. Most people who do the typical type of dialysis -the one where you go to a dialysis clinic three times a week for three-four hour treatments must, by necessity, keep a close watch on their potassium intake, as well as many other things. Kidneys work round the clock. Dialysis, by its very nature, can’t. For years now, I do my dialysis treatment at home, four nights a week, which affords me the wonderful ability to enjoy all of of nature’s bounty. I may not have kidneys that inside me, but I’m thankfully doing the best therapy out there that opens the door to excellent nutrition.
And what about the people who receive a much more limited type of dialysis? Too often, with the restrictions in one area, people are encouraged to eat lots of sugar and fat to compensate (?), and inevitably, lots of processed foods to keep up their caloric intake. Spinach? No. Margarine? Yes. If it’s unhealthy for healthy folks, why the heck is it okay for those on dialysis? Guess what… it’s not. People who are diabetic, and there’s a lot of that in the world of dialysis, use sugar substitutes and eat packaged sugar-free stuff. More additives.
And here comes a physician with a revolutionary perspective… is the Mediterranean diet better than the current approach for people who are pre-dialysis? So simple and elegant. And why not for the dialysis crowd as well, with some slight adjustments?
With a nod to the Mediterranean Diet, I offer you a wonderful moist cake made with… olive oil.
Start with lovely aromatic Meyer lemons. Sweeter than regular lemons with a fragrant thin rind, these lemons are worth looking for.
We’ll need the juice and the zest.
There are people who are in love with their Bundt pans. I have one but it’s my Springform pan that’s got the key to my heart. How can anyone resist that lock??
Uh oh, here comes another one… Zesty eyes… I never knew love could be so fine…zesty eyes…
Don’t even try to figure that out…
Incorporate dry into wet.
Your springform awaits.
I used only half the amount of icing that the original recipe had. If you like more icing , double the amount of sugar and lemon juice. But I prefer doing a drizzly glaze rather than a thick one.
So I return home excited to bake this cake inspired by all that I learned and had re-affirmed. And the very day I baked the cake was the very same day my wonderful niece was in the midst of having her baby. Sam made his grand entrance into the world later that night . So this cake, healthful and aromatic is dedicated to you, our dear little Sam. May you be surrounded by all that is good and joyous as you grow. Happy Birthday and Welcome to the World!
Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cake
adapted from Winnie Abramson’s excellent blog, Healthy Green Kitchen
Ingredients:1 1/2 c. flour 2 t. baking powder 1/8 t. sea salt 2 t. Meyer lemon zest (from about 2 small Meyer lemons) 1/2 c. lowfat Greek yogurt 3/4 c. sugar 3 large eggs, at room temperature 1/2 c. good quality, fruity olive oil Syrup: 1/4 c. powdered sugar 1/4 c. Meyer lemon juice Icing: 1/2 c. powdered sugar (may need an extra tablespoon sugar) 1 1/2 T. Meyer lemon juice
Pre-heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9″ springform pan (or grease and cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom.
In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the zest and incorporate.
In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, sugar, eggs and olive oil. Beat with a whisk until fully blended. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well.
Pour batter into the springform pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake for 15 minutes and remove sides of pan. Prick the cake all over with a fork. Whisk syrup ingredients together and drizzle over the cake.
Allow the cake to cool for another 30 minutes. Whisk together the icing ingredients. If the icing seems too thin, add another spoon of sugar. It will harden on the cake. Put the icing on either by using an offset spatula, the back of a spoon or drizzling it all over. Let the cake rest for at least an hour for the icing to harden.
Makes about 10 slices.
There! Now wasn’t that easy?
We’ve been waiting…for a baby like you… to come into our lives.
Now I get to post what I’ve been saving. And believe me this is worth the wait… on a bunch of levels.
There are all kinds of reasons to start a food blog. For me so far, it’s a way to connect with family and friends all over the world and let them know what’s going on in my kitchen (Hi K, Hi A!). I’ve said before, a big theme in my life has always been to learn and then share what I learn. That’s why I like to include the process of whatever it is I’m doing.
But blogging brings unexpected gifts too. People come into your life with a shared passion. People like my fellow bloggers in Los Angeles who are part of the FBLA group and people who’ve found my blog and have become followers… and who sometimes grow into friends.
When I went to Israel, one of those people, nutty about food, family & life drove up from Ra’anana to Carmel to visit me. That passionate woman heads up an online food forum and is just now beginning her own food blog, spotsonpots. It’s clever. It’s witty. It’s charming. Pretty much, a reflection of her. And that, in my humble opinion, is a recipe for success.
So last month, I was honored to speak at a physician’s conference on my reflections of living my life while doing kidney dialysis for almost 39 years. I talked about education, attitude, and expectation. I encouraged the docs to view themselves as champions for their patients (Novio, who sat in the front row taping the whole thing, told me later he thought for sure I would break into my rendition of Queen‘s We Are the Champions, My Friend… and we’ll keep on fighting to the end…I’ll admit- it was playing in the background in my head while I was speaking).
So I’ll let you in on a little known fact about me. I don’t just pack clothes & shoes & toiletries. I pack snacks. I have been known to minimize shoes so I can maximize snacks. I like to bring some fresh fruit, a little string cheese, some crackers, maybe something home-baked that I can grab for a quick pick-me-up.
Hanni goes and posts this gem on her new food blog and I knew. These little guys were going with us to Vegas!!
Here’s what it takes-
FROM Hanni’s brand new spotsonpots.com. food blog. Check it out by clicking here.
Adapted, with minor changes from Alice Medrich’s Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies
(another thank you… this book is awesome- where have I been- am definitely getting this one!)
Ingredients:2/3 c. (85 g.) unbleached flour 2/3 c. (85 g.) whole wheat pastry flour 1 t. baking powder 1/4 t. salt ½ c. (100 g.) light brown sugar 1 1/3 c. (130 g.) old fashioned rolled oats 1/3 c. (80 ml.) low fat milk 4 T. (60 g.) melted unsalted butter (or safflower or canola oil) 2 large eggs, lightly whisked 1 t. pure vanilla extract 1 c. (100g) pecan or walnut pieces 1/2 c. (70g) dried cranberries (or golden raisins or chopped dried cherries) 1 T. sunflower seeds 1 T. sesame seeds 1 T unsweetened flaked coconut 1 t. flax seed meal 1 t. cinnamon sugar mix
Preheat the oven to 325° (160° C). Position a rack in the center of the oven. Line a large rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly with a whisk. Set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar and oats.
Heat the milk and butter (or oil) in a small pot or microwave until the milk is hot and the butter is melted. Combine the hot milk mixture with the oat mixture. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Whisk eggs and vanilla into softened oat mixture. Stir in the flour mixture. Stir in the nuts and cranberries (or other dried fruit). The batter will be very thick.
Scrape the batter onto the prepared pan. Spread it to form a 5 x 12 in. (12 x 30 cm) rectangle, about 3/4 in. (2 cm) thick. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until firm and starting to color around the bottom edges. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.
Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 300° F (150° C).
Transfer the loaf carefully to a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife and a sawing motion, cut the loaf crosswise into 1/2-inch (a bit less than 1 1/2 cm) slices.
Transfer the slices back to the baking sheet, standing them at least 1/2 inch (11/2 cm) apart. Bake for 20 minutes to toast without over browning, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time.
Makes about 20 biscotti. We can’t resist these and munch on them whenever and wherever! Thanks again, Hanni!
I was about to begin the post I was planning (hello H!) when I suddenly remembered the Food Bloggers meeting over the weekend. Theme: Chocolate! My realistic ability to attend? Slim to None. My desire to send an ambassador? Very high.
Now that we had that decided, I felt like making something a bit different yet pleasantly familiar. How many of you are familiar with Master Baker (show of hands, please) Dorie Greenspan’s work? Ok, put your hands down, you’re sitting in front of a computer, for goodness sake (or even sillier, holding your phone). Her book, Baking, From My Home to Yours , is one terrific resource and the photographs will leave you salivating.
If I’d had the time, I might have taken the trip over to Surfas to buy my beloved Belgian chocolate, Callebaut. But there was no time, and I was dealing with a low supply of energy molecules. Bronchitis and constant coughing will do that to a person. OK, Ghirardelli is good stuff. Don’t you folks agree? I’m not exactly using the plain-wrap brand.
After some nosing around Baking, I came upon these dear little Brownie Buttons. With basic ingredients and an extremely lovely one-pot procedure. Hurray! Less time at sink for me.
Roughly chop chocolate the heat will take care of the rest.
Smell that divine aroma? Or is it just me? Oh, it’s just me. The recipe called for orange or lemon zest. I had a bunch of little Mandarin tangerines sitting on my counter. Why not? The aroma became even more divine. Plus, I took a break and ate that tangerine.
The only thing I can now suggest is get thee to the market at once to purchase the requisite ingredients and then, get thee to it!
The mini paper liners emerged a tad greasy. I didn’t want these little darlings slipping out of people’s hands as they unpeeled the papers. No problem – I had a stock of these little liners that were sitting in my drawer patiently awaiting their day. I unwrapped…
… melted a little white chocolate in the microwave (caution: keep your eye on it – white chocolate will break down if over-heated – kind of like me) …
Dorie Greenspan’s buttons looked wondrous. Perfectly swirled. Mine, how shall we say, tended more toward the rustic. That’s fine. Rustic is good.
I sent Novio off to the meeting with Brownie Buttons tucked into a large plastic container. “I don’t know. I feel a little funny going without you,” he said. “You’ll be fine,” I assured him, “You’re my emissary.” Well, my emissary was gone for quite a while and returned with a lovely sampling of the wares. The wares cheered me considerably. And he wasn’t all that hungry for the rest of the day. Wonder why…
from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking – adapted ever-so-slightly
Ingredients:zest of 1/2 an orange or 1 small mandarin (optional) 1 t. sugar (optional) 1/4 c. plus 2 T. flour pinch of salt 1/2 stick (4 T.) unsalted butter, cut into pieces 2 1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate (coarsely chopped) 1/3 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed 1 t. pure vanilla extract 1 large egg For Glaze 1 1/2 oz. white chocolate, chopped
Pre-heat oven to 350ˆ.
Place mini-muffin liners in mini-muffin tins. You’ll get 16-18 from this batch. If you’re not using liners, grease pan.
If using zest, place zest and a teaspoon of sugar in little bowl and rub between your fingers to blend.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
Mix butter, chocolate and brown sugar in heavy bottomed pan, stirring constantly and on a low flame until mixture is completely smooth. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Stir vanilla, egg and zest (if using) into the pot of chocolate mixture until well-blended . Mix in flour until just incorporated to make a smooth glossy batter.
Using a teaspoon, spoon batter into mini-muffin cups to 3/4 full (mine were more 1/2 full – I wanted a few more)
Bake about 14 minutes, or until tops just spring back when touched. Don’t overbake – chocolate loses its lusciousness when overdone.
Place pan on rack to cool for 3 minutes. If you’re not using liners, carefully remove buttons to cool to room temperature on rack. If you are using liners, remove from pan and cool on rack to room temperature. You may want to remove the liners and change to fresh liners after dipping into glaze. Your choice.
To make glaze, melt white chocolate in a small shallow bowl in microwave at half-power for 3o seconds. Stir thoroughly until melted. If a little lumpy microwave another 15 seconds, Remember to use half-power to prevent scorching.
To glaze, dip tops of buttons into melted white chocolate, one by one, twirling them so that you get a little swirl at the center of each one, and the excess chocolate drips back into the bowl. Refrigerate for 15 minutes until set. For me, this takes a bit of practice. I’m sure you’ll do fine!
The recipe easily doubles and freezes well, so, why not? But will you have any left to freeze? That’s the question!
Here, my dear readers, I present you with all manner of (mostly) chocolate goodies and bubbly ideas to brighten your February. Click on the links below for some terrific recipes.
FBLA Chocolate Party 2014 Recipe and Resource Links
- Chocolate Petit Fours — Christina Conte of Christina’s Cucina
- Chocolate Brownie Quick Bread — Dorothy Reinhold of Shockingly Delicious
- Fair-Trade Chocolate Earthquake Cookies — Alison Ashton at Nourish Network
- Mocha Truffle Bars — Valentina of Cooking On The Weekends
- Pain au Chocolat and Cro-Nut Hearts — Jude at Two Broads Abroad
- Vegan Nutella Fudge — Alanna Waldron of Eat Real Food
- Chocolate Red Wine Tart — Nancy Buchanan of A Communal Table
- Brownie Buttons — Judy Weintraub of Bumbleberry Breeze
- Blood Orange-Champagne Creme Brûlée — also from Valentina of Cooking on the Weekends
- Vintage Lemon Pudding Cake — Leslie Macchiarella of Bake This Cake
- Game Day Chili — Erika Kerekes of In Erika’s Kitchen
- Tamales with Chocolate Mole Sauce — Patricia Rose of Fresh Food in a Flash
- Amaretto Sauce/Dressing on Spinach-Berry Salad — Ellen Rosentreter of Within My Means
- Deviled Eggs — Patti Londre from Worth the Whisk
- Chinese New Year Slaw — Nancy Eisman of Adventures with Nancy Rose
Champagne/Sparkling Wine Recommendations
- Jaume Serra Cristalino Brut Cava ($7 “but tastes like $20+”) — Andrew Wilder of Eating Rules
- NV Presto Prosecco Brut ($10-$12), a “price performer” — Alison Ashton of Nourish Network
- Brut Roederer Estate Mixed Vintage ($20) — Jennifer Daskevich of A Little Gourmet Everyday
- Colbert Eco Brut (sugar-free organic sparkling wine; $25) — Caren Magill of The Fit Habit
- Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée ($10.99). “When serving mimosas there is no need to buy expensive bubbly, but naturally you don’t want to serve your guests headache-inducing sparkling wines or champagne either. The Brut Cuvée is Barefoot’s most traditional bubbly and tastes of green apple and jasmine with hints of kiwi and peach flavors which bubble up for a crisp finish and, in my opinion, make a delightful Mimosa,” said Priscilla Willis of She’s Cookin’.
Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!
We plan and God laughs. That appears to be somewhat of a running theme in my life.
I just returned from an amazing research symposium where I was asked to give a talk kicking off the conference. A humanistic focus to help the physicians and researchers remember why it is they do what they do. Given my, ahem, illustrious history, I was thrilled to oblige. The feedback was amazing. One of those times when you know you’re in the right place at the right time.
I had wanted to post a terrific Breakfast Biscotti that I discovered on a wonderful new food blog as soon as I returned. That’s coming very soon because of the ‘we plan and God laughs’ part. It had to wait. Mixed in with all the wonderful praise that came my way was a nasty (sorry, you are nasty) little bug which wasted no time in making his way to my lungs and boom! I have myself a case of bronchitis. My sister Annie immediately appeared on my doorstep with a container of Jewish penicillin AKA chicken soup which disappeared in no time.
I rummaged through my fridge and freezer. I had some chicken pieces, which was immediately pulled out to defrost.
Once the chicken was defrosted, I pulled out some basic soup vegetables I always have on hand, plus lots of ginger and garlic because they help me feel better. I grabbed some fresh herbs, in this case dill and parsley, tied them together with a bit of kitchen twine, and plopped it in to my stock pot with lots of cool water (room temp or cool water makes for a more flavorful soup -just ask my mom). Why twine? The easier to fish it out at the end, my pretty.
After the chicken cooked through, I removed it from the pot and placed it in a bowl along with some broth. That prevents the chicken from getting overly cooked and sitting in the broth keeps it moist. Later, when it cools, I pull the chicken off the bones with my fingers, keeping the drumsticks whole, and reserve the bones with bits of chicken still on them for a little private snack, usually eaten then and there, while standing at counter. (Thank you Julia Child, for stating this on public television, thus giving us your stamp of approval.) When the soup is all finished, I returned the chicken to the pot.
Before I add the bite-sized veggies, I remove the parsnip, celery heart, ginger, quartered onion (some people leave that in; since I was adding some more chopped onion, I took them out) and herbs.
What vegetables did I find to add? I had some green beans and zucchini. I wanted a little more, carrots, celery and onion. I also had some cut-up cauliflower that I was going to roast for Popcorn Cauliflower. Sometimes I save the core and the leaves for soup stock. I did, so I had thrown that into the stock earlier along with the chicken. Veggie possibilities? My oh my! Cubed potatoes, yams, chard, kale, turnip, rutabaga, fennel, leeks. The list is endless on what veggies to add. Just add the quicker ones in the last ten minutes. Things like shredded cabbage, or peas, or spinach.
The seasonings are very simple. Salt, pepper and turmeric. Why turmeric? It adds a nice golden color to the broth and it’s good for you. Trust me.
I hadn’t used quinoa in soup before. I wanted to make the soup a little heartier but wanted something that wouldn’t feel too heavy after I ate it. The quinoa was perfect. Reminiscent of the pastina (teeny pasta) I ate in chicken soup as a little girl, but it provided the extra protein I wanted and added a wholesome and earthy feel to the soup.
Lulu called just as I was finishing my soup. Nothing like hearing Lulu’s voice to boost my spirits. We talked and laughed for a while. Then I went to ladle out another bowlful of soup…
I love pulkees.
Chicken Vegetable Soup with Quinoa
Ingredients:10 c. water 1 1/2-3 lb. chicken pieces, skin removed 2 medium onions, quartered 4 cloves garlic 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled 2 carrots, cut into chunks 2 stalks celery, cut in chunks (or use the celery heat with the leaves intact) 1 parsnip, cut in half 1/2 bunch dill 1 small bunch parsley (Italian or otherwise) 4 c. vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces (zucchini, onion, green beans. carrots, celery, cauliflower) 3/4 c. quinoa 1 t. turmeric salt & pepper
Place cleaned chicken in stock pot and pour cold water over. Add quartered onion, halved parsnip, celery, carrot chunks, split garlic cloves and knob of ginger. Tie fresh herbs into a bundle with kitchen twine and add to soup, leaves dipping into water. Bring up to boil and then down to a very gentle simmer. You want to see just a few bubbles coming up. Cook, uncovered, for about 40 minutes or until chicken pieces are fully cooked through.
Remove chicken to bowl and pour a little broth over it to stay moist. Set aside.
Add vegetables and salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook for 30 minutes more. In the last 15 minutes of cooking, add quinoa and stir through every few minutes to prevent quinoa from sticking to the bottom.
Using your fingers, pull chicken off bones and pull to bite-sized pieces. Remove any skin that might still be hanging around. Return chicken pieces to soup with the broth. Check seasonings.
When reheating, add a bit more water or broth if you like.
Serves about 8. In this house, 6-8 is more like it. Freezes well.
Oh. if you could only smell the aroma wafting through this kitchen right now! And who do I have to thank for this? None other than Erika Kerekes, fellow food blogger, for bringing her wonderful vision to fruition (no pun intended). She has taken the concept of ketchup and turned an American staple that has not been updated in decades on its head. After months of experimentation in her kitchen, she developed a line of dipping sauces that pairs sweet with heat, fruit with fire, with not one speck of tomato. The FDA requires tomato in any ketchup-type product. Well, no tomato here. Her line of “Not Ketchup“currently includes smoky date, blueberry white pepper and cherry chipotle.
She was kind enough to stop by the other day with Not Ketchup blueberry white pepper and cherry chipotle dipping sauces.
Novio and I immediately began sampling the wares in all manner of ways. Cheese and sauce on crackers. Raw veggies and sauce. Sauce on its own. Delicious! I began visualizing salad dressings made with the sauce, marinades made with the sauce.
Then I thought, why use the sauce just on the outside of food? Why not from within as well as without?
I already use ketchup inside many types of meat loaves. Let’s go for Not Ketchup and see what happens. And this is what happened.
Shape into loaves, shmear on sauce, and bake.
Have you heard of Popcorn Cauliflower? I loved it before I knew the trendy term for it. Trendy Shmendy. This is simply roasted cauliflower with nothing but olive oil, salt and pepper all over it. And wow, is it good with Not Ketchup.
Okay, so if Not Ketchup is Not Available just yet (and if you know Erika, that should be a temporary state of affairs), experiment in the kitchen with a combo that pleases you.
I’ll tell you this: I remember a meal from long ago where the starter consisted of three tiny meatballs. I couldn’t quite put my finger on where the sweet and the spice were coming from. Along with a nice hunk of Challah, I was mighty happy. I cornered the hostess in the kitchen. “What is going on with those meatballs?” She smiled demurely. She did a lot of demure smiling. “Grape jam,” she replied, “and lemon juice and plenty of salt and pepper.” Similar concept! Not too shabby, Miss Demure Hostess.
Cherry Chipotle Turkey Loaf
Ingredients:1- 1/4 lb. ground turkey 1 large egg 1/2 medium red onion chopped 1 clove garlic, chopped 1 zucchini, grated 1/2 c. oatmeal 2 T. toasted wheat germ 2 T. flax seed meal 1 T. fresh thyme, roughly chopped 3 T. “Not Ketchup” cherry chipotle sauce, divided* salt & pepper
*Not Ketchup” not available? It won’t be quite the same but try cooking a small amount of fruit puree or jam with a bit of raw sugar, chopped onion, honey, apple cider vinegar, chopped dates, salt & pepper. Add some heat like chipotle chile or smoked paprika.
Pre-heat oven to 375°.
Mix ground meat in large bowl with egg, chopped vegetables, oatmeal and other meals, thyme, salt and pepper, and 2 T. (reserve the other tablespoon) of “Not Ketchup” sauce.
Shape into two rectangular loaves on large greased pan.
Spread remaining tablespoon of sauce over the tops and sides of the two loaves with the back of a spoon.
Bake in oven until tops of loaves are firm and meat is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Turn around halfway during baking.
Ingredients:1 head cauliflower, broken into florets 2 T. extra virgin olive oil sea salt & pepper
Pre-heat oven to 450°.
Break cauliflower into florets. They don’t all need to be the same size. Wash the florets and dry WELL.
Grease roasting pan with a bit of the oil. Toss cauliflower on the pan and drizzle on the remaining oil. Add salt and pepper. Toss cauliflower with hands.
Roast for 35 minutes until cauliflower is tender and browned.
Enjoy with “Not Ketchup” Cherry Chipotle Sauce!