December 29, 2010

Classic Salsa


2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add all other ingredients to the food processor. Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don't over do it). Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Enjoy!
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December 21, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Try this bread warm from the oven topped with real butter (ok just as fantastic with Earth Balance spread too)! I know why the recipe makes 4 loaves, because this bread won't last long around your house.

Adapted from Artisan: Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes four 1-pound loaves.

1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
1-2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

Mix together the melted butter, warm water, eggs and honey. Add the yeast and allow to sit 5 minutes. Knead in the flour. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on low with standing electric mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky. Add a little more flour if needed, but don't over do it. Cover (I cover my dough with a plastic bag and then a tea towel) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and doubles in size (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours). Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. (Or divide your dough into 4 equal balls if you don't have a scale) On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a loaf shape. Using a rolling pin (or your hands) roll dough into a 1/4 thick rectangle. Use just enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly all over the top of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. (You made need to make more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture to complete all four loaves) Top with the raisins. Roll up the dough, jellyroll-style. Allow the bread to rest and rise, covered, in a buttered loaf pan for 1 hour. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. I baked 2 loaves (I cut the recipe in half) at the same time and it took 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven. Let rest, covered with a tea towel for 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and cover again with a tea towel. Allow to rest 5-10 more minutes and then dig in while still warm. Enjoy!
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December 8, 2010

Ultimate Oatmeal

This is morning comfort in a bowl! I guarantee you will not go back to your old ways of oatmeal making (that is if you don't already cook your oatmeal in this way). When I was head cook for a Christian camp (Tall Timber Ranch!) I would serve this to over 200 high school campers and I would rarely have any leftovers. This is not your average camp slop!

The following proportions will feed around 3-4 people.

2 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cup extra thick rolled oatmeal (any mixed rolled grains work well (barley, rye ect..), but use at least half extra thick rolled oats)
1 small pear or apple peeled and cubed (this is optional, if you don't use the chopped pear or apple then increase your water to 3 cups)
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons organic whole milk (or any milk of your choose)

Place the cubed apple or pear in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil. When the water starts boiling turn off the heat (but do not remove the pot from the burner) and add the oatmeal. Let it sit. After about 20 minutes slightly stir the oatmeal. If there is still water remaining you can cover and let sit a few more minutes. Add the sugar, raisins, craisins, chopped walnuts and milk. Stir and serve. Another way of serving the oatmeal is to put all the "toppings" out on the counter and allow individuals to add what they want to their oatmeal. You can even include fresh berries, apple butter, maple syrup or anything you can think of! The key is in the "cooking" of the oatmeal. Enjoy!
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December 4, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

This dough makes a wonderful soft gingerbread cookie. These would be perfect with raisins for the buttons and eyes, but I only thought of this after I baked them. They make a lovely holiday snack!

Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1/2 cup softened coconut oil
1/4 cup whole raw cane sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger

In medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin puree, vanilla and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a wooden spoon. Form dough into a ball and wrap in waxed paper; place in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a surface for rolling out your dough. Place the dough on the surface and roll until it is about 1/4 inch think. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters and then place cookies onto an oiled baking sheet. You may decorate the cookies before baking by gently pressing whole nuts or raisins into the cookies. I used very old cinnamon balls that I found in my baking supplies. I will do raisins next time! Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Then remove from cookie sheet and place onto a rack to cool. Enjoy!
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December 2, 2010

Pureed Carrot Soup with Nutmeg

This is a fantastic comfort soup.

Complements: Cook's Illustrated December 1996

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion or leek, chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine (I used white cooking wine)
1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 large carrots), peeled, halved lenghtwise, and sliced thin
2 cups vegetable stock (or organic chicken stock)
1 teaspoon sea salt
ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1- 1 1/2 cup whole milk (or unsweetened soy milk)
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, mint, chive or parsley leaves

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and carrots; stir-cook until sherry evaporates, about 1 minute. Add stock, salt, pepper to taste and nutmeg to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Ladle carrot mixture into blender. Add 1 cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in additional milk or broth. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced herb before serving. Enjoy!
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December 1, 2010

Glazed Meat Loaf

Complements: Cooks Magazine January/February 2006

3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 tablspoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 organic chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2/3 cup fine bread crumbs (gluten free bread if you need to)
2 tablspoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground organic beef or turkey

1/2 ketchup
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread cheese on plate and place in freezer until ready to use.

Prepare baking sheet. I covered a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. I then placed a cooling rack (like you use for cookies) on top of the covered baking sheet and covered the rack with foil. Then I made large slits in the foil covering the cooling rack. This allows any extra juices to drip off the loaf and into the bottom of the baking pan.

Heat butter in skillet over medium high heat until foaming; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add tomato juice. Cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool. Whisk broth and eggs in large bowl until combined. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, mustard, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and onion mixture. Crumble frozen cheese into coarse powder and sprinkle over mixture. Add the ground meat and mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined, about 1 minutes. Transfer meat to foil rectangle and shape into 10 by 6 inch oval about 2 inches high. Smooth top and edges of meat loaf with moistened spatula. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf reads 135-140 degree 55-60 minutes.

While meat loaf cooks, combine ingredients for glaze in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

When meat loaf is done cooking remove from oven and turn on broiler. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meat loaf with rubber spatula; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 5 minutes. Remove meat loaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
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