Tuesday, May 24, 2022

RECIPE: Improved Copycat GRANOLA without seed oils

The best Granola we've ever purchased is from Plowshare Farm.  They sell it on ETSY, and in our farm store.   My husband eats so much of it, I decided to try and make it myself.  I made a few changes - eliminating seed oils for instance - and it's now "the best granola ever!" according to my husband...

GRANOLA without seed oils 
 

Makes 10 cups.

I started out by separating the components in the Plowshare bag, weighing them, and measuring them.

I came up with the following:

  • 41 g. walnuts (1/3 cup)
  • 39 g. raisins (1/4 cup)
  • 26 g. dates (3 T.)
  • 35 g. oats plus coconut (about 2 c.  I was unable to separate these)

Using several recipes I found online as a guide to the process and baking times, I then made one recipe using those exact proportions, but substituting coconut oil for the sunflower oil.  It was good but we thought it could be better.  

Using cacao butter gave it a slightly chocolate flavor, and replacing the raisins with currants and unsweetened tart cherries made it healthier.

Several iterations later, this is the version we like the best.  It's also the healthiest I've found anywhere!

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 cups rolled oats**
  • 1.5 c. walnut chips (my sister prefers almonds, use whatever nuts you like)
  • 1.5 c. chopped dates (about 9 large medjul dates)*
  • 1.4 c. currants
  • 1.4 c. tart cherries withOUT added sugar
  • 3 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. cacao butter
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. malt extract*

INSTRUCTIONS

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 300. 

Slice dates into 1/4" strips and sprinkle with some malt extract (about 1-2 T.).  Slice into 1/4" cubes and sprinkle with malt extract to coat each piece (about 1-2 T.).  SET ASIDE to 'dry' while you bake the granola.  Do not mix with the oats until they're cooked!

Sliced dates on the left, sprinkled with malt powder, chopped dates on the right.

 
Close-up of chopped dates covered with malt powder.


Mix the oats, nuts, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  DO NOT ADD THE FRUIT AT THIS TIME!

Mix the maple syrup with the remaining malt powder in a small saucepan.  Stir over low heat until the malt melts into the syrup.  Add the cacao butter and stir until melted.

 

Add cacao butter to maple-malt mixture

Pour the maple-malt-cacao-butter over the oat-nut mixture and stir to coat evenly.

Pour maple-malt-cacao-butter over oat-nut mixture

Spread evenly on the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread evenly in parchment-lined sheet pan

 

Bake, stirring every 15 minutes, until golden.  If you don't like big chunks, break them up as you stir.  In my oven it took 1 hour, in my sister's oven 30 minutes.

Baked oat-nut mixture

 

Cool.

Add fruit and stir to combine.  If you add the fruit before you bake it, the fruit will burn.  

*NOTE:  If you can find chopped dates covered with coconut or some other powdery substance you won't need to coat them in malt powder.  Malt powder is slightly sweet but loaded with nutrients that sugar does not have.  You can leave it out, or substitute another sweetener, like brown sugar or Swerve.  My sister leaves it out entirely.  I suppose...you could try coating the dates in coconut flakes...let me know if it works!

**You can use up to 2 cups coconut instead of some of the oats, but we prefer it with just oats.

 

 


RECIPE: MMT Ranch Dressing made without seed oils

RANCH is my husband's favorite dressing.  When we gave up seed oils, I had to find a way to make it without mayonnaise. 
 
Have you ever looked at the label for hidden Valley Ranch Dressing?  So many chemicals!  

 Source: Hidden Valley
 
If you make my original recipe with purchased mayonnaise, even if it's organic, it will still contain refined (rancid) oil, CAFO eggs, fructose, salt and MSG.  
 
For this recipe I use spreadable hollandaise, made with butter or ghee!
 
It is possible to buy organic sour cream without additives.  We use Organic Valley (Organic Custored Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, Organic Pasteuried Cream, Acidophilus and Fifidus Cultures, Vegetarian Enzyme).  Make sure the brand you use contains only cream and cultures.  Avoid Carrageenan!
 
Most Ranch Dressing recipes are made with buttermilk, but I rarely have that on hand so I use milk thickened with lemon juice.  If you make your own buttermilk, or buy buttermilk without additives, use that instead of the milk/lemon combination.  
 
Ranch Dressing without seed oils
Makes a scant 3 cups 
 
INGREDIENTS
 
1 cup spreadable hollandaise made with the following seasonings:
2 T. minced shallot or chives
2 T. minced fresh parsley
2 T. minced fresh dill
 
2 garlic cloves minced or grated using a microplane
  
3/4 c. sour cream, preferably homemade
1/2 c. whole milk
4 T. plus 2 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. himalayan pink salt
opt: pinch cayenne

INSTRUCTIONS
 
Mix 4 T. lemon juice into the milk and let stand several minutes until milk thickens.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the seasoned hollandaise, sour cream, 2 t. lemon juice, salt and cayenne.  Add the thickened milk slowly until the sauce reaches the desired consistency.  You may not use it all.

Taste and adjust seasoning.  Cover and let sit 30 minutes for the flavor to develop.
 

  
 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

RECIPE: SPREADABLE Hollandaise you can use instead of mayonnaise

Earlier this year, we gave up seed oils because they're very high in omega-6.  We didn't want to give up mayonnaise, though, so I started making hollandaise and adding extra water to the emulsion.  When the hollandaise cooled, it was spreadable!  This is healthiest made with ghee, but if all you have is butter it's fine to use that instead.

Original recipe: Foolproof Hollandaise in 2 Minutes

If you don't have an immersion blender, here is another foolproof way to make hollandaise   

SPREADABLE Hollandaise

Makes 2 scant cups

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup ghee or unsalted butter (2 sticks)
  • 3 egg yolks, from medium or large eggs*
  • 3 T. cold water 
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt 
  • OPTIONAL seasonings - garlic, mustard, harissa, curry powder, whatever you would use to flavor mayonnaise!  In the photo above, I used 2T each of chives, dill, and parsley, and 2 cloves of garlic grated on a microplane.

INSTRUCTIONS

*WASH THE EGG SHELLS with soap and hot water.  Dry them, then separate the yolks.  Save the whites for another use.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt ghee or butter until foam subsides, about 5 minutes.

While the ghee/butter is melting, add the egg yolks, water and salt to a pint jar and get out your immersion blender.  If you're going to season the hollandaise, add the seasonings to the jar.

When the foam has subsided on the ghee/butter, pour it into a heat-proof pitcher.

Add the lemon juice to the jar with the egg yolk.

Insert the head of the immersion blender into the pint jar and turn it on.  With the motor running, slowly pour the hot ghee/butter mixture into the yolks.  The acid and heat will perfectly cook the yolks!

Taste and adjust seasoning.

Refrigerate until cold.  

If it's still too stiff to spread, let it come back to room temperature and add 1-2 T warm water.  Mix thoroughly and refrigerate.  If you increase the water when you're making it, it might end up being too liquidy.  I think it depends on the egg yolks - sometimes 3 T. is perfect, sometimes I need to add more water later. 

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

RECIPE: Easy Keto (grain free) Egg Bites with Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

 I've been meaning to make these for YEARS, and finally got around to it.  They are quick, easy, versatile, and tasty!

Original recipe: Keto Breakfast Egg Bites

I changed the recipe to use what I had on hand, and you can, too!  If you don't have spinach, use avocado, peas, or sauteed onions.  If you don't have sun dried tomatoes, use cherry tomatoes, prosciutto, or sauteed green peppers.  If you don't have cream cheese, use Boursin.  Whatever you would put in an omelet, you can put in these egg bites! 

I baked them in our convection toaster oven.  I made one batch using the pan with hot water, and another batch without it, and couldn't tell any difference.  Ergo, if you have a convection oven, you don't need the pan with the water. 

To insure I could unmold them, I used a silicone mini cupcake pan.  If you use a metal pan, I have no idea whether you'll be able to get them out of the pan!  

Silicone is floppy, so I placed the silicone pan on an enamel pan for support.  The recipe makes 24, so I baked them in two batches.

Easy Keto Egg Bites 

with Spinach and Sun dried Tomatoes


Makes 24 SMALL (1.75") egg bites.

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium-large eggs
  • 1 c. shredded cheese (I used cheddar), divided
  • 1/4 c. cream cheese, quark, or cottage cheese
  • 1/2 c. frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed dry and minced
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in oil, OR roasted red peppers, minced
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 1/4 t. cayenne

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300F. 

Place the eggs, 1/2 cup of grated cheese, cream cheese, salt and pepper in your blender jar and blend on high for 20 seconds until light and frothy.

If you aren't using a silicone cupcake pan, put about 1/4 t. of oil from the sun dried tomatoes in each of your pan's depressions.  This isn't necessary if you use a silicone pan.

In each depression, put 1 t. chopped spinach, 1/2 t. sun dried tomatoes, and 1 t. grated cheese. 

Fill each depression almost all the way to the top.  In the photo above, I added a sprinkle of cayenne to the top because we like spicy! 

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the center of the egg bites are just set.

Remove from the oven.

Invert the pan and pop the bites out! 

We like these with hummus, or hollandaise


The only photo I have of the cooked bites was taken at a picnic.  You can see them on the right, next to the chicken salad and meatballs we served them with.  The sauce is harissa hollandaise:





Friday, June 4, 2021

RECIPE: Scrambled Eggs with Senposai and Chive Blossom Hollandaise

Here's another quick recipe using SENPOSAI!  It uses only one pan, and dinner was on the table in 30 minutes. If you make the hollandaise fresh, add the egg whites to the scrambled eggs.

Scrambled eggs are my last-minute solution to the  'oops, I forgot to plan dinner' dilemma.  If I have spinach or arugula in the fridge, I usually add it to the eggs, so I decided to try the recipe with senposai.  As you can see, we like a high senposai-to-eggs ratio.  Feel free to use less. 

After dinner, my husband declared he was a senposai fan!  

The next day, he used the leftover eggs in an open-faced sandwich, layered between ham and cheese and then baked until the cheese melted.

The hollandaise is optional, turning the meal into a deconstructed Florentine Eggs Benedict.  I made it because I had chive blossoms that needed to be used, and we now use cold hollandaise instead of 'mayonnaise'.  It was so good I'm making a second batch before the chive blossoms are all gone.

Scrambled Eggs with Senposai and Chive Blossom Hollandaise

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 T. ghee
  • 2 cups chopped onions (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 4 cups chopped senposai, including the stems
  • 1.5 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 1 t. powdered jalapeno, cayenne or black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t. cumin, either ground or seeds, your choice
  • 12 eggs, beaten to combine (I use an immersion blender for this)
  • Chive Blossom Hollandaise either freshly made or at room temperature

In a large saute pan, melt 1 T. ghee over med-high heat and saute the onions and senposai stems, stirring occasionally until the onions are dark brown on the edges.  I add the onions first and let the senposai stems steam on top of them until the onions start to brown.


If you stir too often, the onions will cook through before they brown.  If the heat is too low, they won't brown at all.  You want them nicely browned but not mushy.  This will take 10-15 minutes.



I clean and chop the senposai leaves while I'm waiting for the onions to brown.

If you're going to make the hollandaise fresh, remove the pan from the heat and make the hollandaise now.

Return the onions to medium-high heat.  Add 1 T. ghee to the pan, add the senposai leaves and cook for about 2 minutes until they're wilted but still bright green.  Don't overcook them as they will continue to cook after you add the eggs.


Season with salt, pepper, and cumin.

Add the last tablespoon ghee to the pan.  Add the beaten eggs and reduce the heat to medium.  Stir constantly until the eggs are half coagulated, 3-5 minutes.  

Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir until they're creamy, another 3 minutes.  There should still be a little moisture in the pan - don't cook them until they're dry!


The pan I use is enameled steel, made by Chantal.  If I cook the eggs on medium or medium-low they do not stick!  You can see in the photo below, they are not stuck to the pan.  

Even if they did stick, I would not use a non-stick pan.


Serve drizzled with hollandaise and sprinkled with additional chives and blossoms.





RECIPE: Easy Chive Blossom Hollandaise

We now use hollandaise instead of mayonnaise, since I've figured how to make it quickly and easily.  

Hollandaise is not typically spreadable when cold, and it's impossible to reheat, so most recipes make a small batch to be used immediately while still warm. I make a big batch, and use a little more liquid than normal so that it's spreadable when cold.

Using an immersion blender, it comes together in minutes, and has never failed me!

Original recipe: Foolproof Hollandaise in 2 Minutes

Chive Blossom* Hollandaise



 Makes 2 cups (1 pint)

Ingredients

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 4 T. water
  • 1/2 t. himalayan pink salt
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/4 cup each minced chives and chive blossoms*
  • Optional: pinch of ground cayenne or hot sauce

Scrub the egg shells before separating the eggs.  Save the whites to add to your next batch of scrambled eggs.

Combine the yolks, water, lemon juice and salt in the bottom of a pint jar.

Add the chives and chive blossoms.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over high heat, swirling constantly, until the foaming subsides.  Transfer to a 2-cup heat-proof liquid measuring pitcher, either stainless steel or borosilicate glass.

Place the head of the immersion blender in the jar and turn it on.  With the blender running, slowly pour the hot butter into the jar until all the butter is added.  Continue blending until it's thick and creamy.  

When it's hot, it will be pourable.  It will thicken as it cools. When it's cold it will be spreadable.

NOTE: adjust the amount of water, depending on your intended use.  Use 1 T. if you're going to consume all of it hot, use 4 T. for spreadable when cold, and use 2-3 T. for a texture that's thicker when warm but needs to come to room temperature to be spreadable.   

* You can use other herbs and seasonings!  I've made garlic hollandaise, lovage hollandaise, harissa hollandaise, and lemon hollandaise by using 2 T lemon juice and 3 T. water.  Use your imagination!




RECIPE: How to Clean and Prepare Senposai

It occurred to me that it might be helpful to document how I prepare senposai for cooking, to show how easy it is, much easier than any other green!

How to Clean and Prepare Senposai


First, I rinse each leaf under running water, removing any dirt caught in the center rib.  The leaves are flat and easy to clean.

I stack the rinsed leaves in my salad spinner.  One full 'load' is the right amount for 4 servings.

If the leaves are really dirty, I will fill the spinner and give them a second rinse.  If they're clean, as they have been, I spin them dry.

Next, I remove the center rib.  For some recipes I reserve the ribs, for others they go on our compost pile. 

The plants are young now and the leaves fit easily in my spinner.  As the leaves get bigger, I remove the ribs before I spin the leaves, and I cut the leaves in quarters so they'll fit in the spinner.

Compare this process to cleaning curly kale for instance - I rarely cook curly kale because it's so hard to get the dirt out of the crevasses!  The only green that's almost as easy to clean as senposai is russian kale which is also flat and mostly crevasse free, except for the ruffles around the edges.

 

Most of my recipes call for chopped senposai.  

Once I've removed the ribs, I stack the leaves according to their size.  The smaller leaves I cut in half lengthwise and stack both halves.  Then, I slice them (this is much easier with a very sharp knife!) crosswise.


The larger leaves I quarter lengthwise, stack all four, and then slice them crosswise.  If the leaves are really big, cut them into 2" strips.


Once all the leaves are sliced crosswise, I chop the mound into roughly 1" pieces. 


 
If I'm going to use the ribs, I chop them coarsely.
 

 
 
 

Thursday, June 3, 2021

RECIPE: Creamy Senposai and Optional Chicken Stew

There is SENPOSAI in the farm store!!!  

I LOVE senposai!  Described as a "cross between cabbage and komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach)", senposai, which translates as Thousand Wonder Vegetable, tastes more like sweet cabbage than mustard greens or spinach.  

It looks like a smaller version of collards, which makes it easy to wash and de-rib, but it cooks MUCH faster, in minutes as opposed to half an hour, and it's more toothsome than spinach or other salad greens.  I use it wherever I might otherwise use spinach or kale.  It freezes beautifully, both raw and blanched.


 

Here's a recipe I concocted for dinner tonight using as many farm-store vegetables as possible.  It's sort-of an UN-recipe because you can substitute most of the ingredients for something else.  It uses only one pan and it's ready in 10 minutes, once you've done all the prep.  I had dinner on the table in 30 minutes!

Creamy Senposai and Chicken Stew

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  •  4 T. bacon fat, lard, or ghee (I used ghee made from farm milk)
  • 1 c. chopped onions (I used green onions from the farm store, both the green and white parts)
  • 3 cups chopped senposai (I remove the ribs, slice thinly, then cut into 1" pieces)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken, cut or torn into small pieces OR 3 additional cups chopped senposai
  • 2 cups liquid - broth, milk, or water (I used chicken broth, made with farm chickens)
  • 3 T. flour (I used sweet rice flour)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used gouda, but any melting cheese will work)
  • 1 t. Himalayan pink salt
  • 1/2 t. cayenne (optional, or you can use freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
  • Chopped chives and chive blossoms for garnish (or sage blossoms).

Melt 1 T. fat over medium heat and saute the onions until translucent; 4 minutes for yellow onions, 1 minute for green onions.


 

Add the senposai and saute until wilted but still bright green, 1-2 minutes.  Remove to a bowl and reserve.


 

Melt the remaining 3 T. fat over medium heat and stir in the flour.  Whisk until medium brown, about 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to low and add the liquid, stirring vigorously with the whisk to prevent lumps.  Raise heat to medium and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.


Stir in chicken and cheese, then stir until the cheese melts, about 1 minute.  Don't raise the heat or the cheese will separate.

Add the seasonings and stir to combine.


Add the reserved senposai and stir until heated through.  If it's too thick, add a little water.


Serve, garnished with chives and their blossoms.


You can serve this over toast (creamed chicken on toast), or with rice or pasta, but they're no longer part of our diet so we ate it neat/Paleo as stew.  We both went back for seconds!  If you replace the chicken with senposai, you can serve it as a side dish.


Here are some additional senposai recipes you can try:




Saturday, April 24, 2021

RECIPE: Roasted Frozen Broccoli with Optional Sauce

In the past, I made roasted broccoli with fresh broccoli, thinking frozen broccoli would be mushy.

How wrong I was!

Frozen broccoli cooks must faster, and it gets crispy on the edges about the same time the inside is cooked.  

Roasted Frozen Broccoli with Optional Sauce


Serves 2-4

Ingredients

  • 32-ounces of frozen broccoli (fits perfectly in a half-sheet pan.) 
  • 2 T. EVOO

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400F and move the rack to the center. 

Line a half-sheet pan with Silpat or parchment paper.

Pack the broccoli onto the lined pan and place it in the oven for 10-15 minutes as the oven is preheating.  This will defrost the broccoli so you can toss it with the oil. 

Half Sheet Pan of Frozen Broccoli, Defrosted
 

Remove the pan from the oven and drizzle the oil over the defrosted broccoli.  USING GLOVES (the pan will be hot!) toss the broccoli to distribute the oil.

When the oven has reached 400F, put the pan back in the oven and roast for 15 minutes or until the edges are starting to crisp.  Rotate the pan and roast another 5-7 minutes.

Remove from the oven, salt lightly, and serve.  

The two of us can easily finish a whole pan because we no longer eat rice, noodles, or potatoes.  If you serve it as a side, with two other dishes, 32 ounces would feed 4.

We eat it both plain, and with one or more of the sauces listed below the photo.

Roasted Broccoli with Tahini Sauce and Spicy Chicken Tenders

 

Optional Sauces

Notes:  You can also put the frozen broccoli onto the pan and let it defrost at room temperature.  It's easier to toss the broccoli with the oil once it's defrosted.



Friday, February 19, 2021

RECIPE: Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

Believe it or not, I still have a few carrots left from last season's harvest - that's the beauty of Biodynamic Agriculture - and here's one of our favorite ways to serve them.

One of my favorite food bloggers is Deb Perelman of Smitten Kitchen.  Deb is funny, REAL, and she appreciates a well-seasoned recipe as much as I do.  I hack her recipes a lot!  Last week, she shared this recipe for carrot salad that sounded so yummy I couldn't wait to make it!  

The recipe comes together quickly - you can grate the carrots and mix the dressing while the chickpeas are roasting, and have dinner on the table in 30 minutes!  

It was so good my husband was mixing the leftover dressing and beans with the carrots that I slice as dippers!  As Deb says, "I don’t think I’ve ever had a bowl of grated carrots with so much complexity".

Original recipe: Carrot Salad With Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

I copied her recipe below verbatim, and added my changes in red.

Carrot Salad with Tahini, Crisped Chickpeas, and Salted Pistachios

(Sorry for the crummy photo - I forgot to take one until I was almost finished eating!)
Serves 4

Chickpeas
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and patted dry on paper towels
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I used 1 t. Himalayan pink salt)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Salad
1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated (We prefer a medium grate)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped parsley (I didn't have so I used cilantro)
1/4 cup shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Dressing
1 medium garlic clove, minced (I grated mine into the lemon juice)
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
2 tablespoons water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Roast chickpeas: Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Toss chickpeas with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp. This can take anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size and firmness of your chickpeas. Toss them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside until needed. (I spread mine into one layer and then left them there for 20 minutes.  I stirred them, spread them out again, and left them for another 10 until they were really crisp!)


Make dressing: Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning; don’t worry if it tastes a little sharp on the lemon, it will marry perfectly with the sweet grated carrots. (Yes!  Anything lemony is great with raw carrots!)

Assemble salad: Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with parsley. Mix in 2/3 of the dressing, adding more if desired. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with a large handful of chickpeas (you’ll have extra and if you’re like us, won’t regret it) and pistachios and dig in. (You can see the medium grate of our carrots below, before I mixed them with the cilantro.)

 

Do ahead: Salad keeps well in the fridge for two days, however, I’d add the chickpeas and pistachios right before serving, so they don’t get soft.

Any leftover chickpeas make nice 'croutons' for a green salad.