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Archive for the ‘Brussel's Sprouts’ Category

What are we thankful for this year?  For many things.  We are thankful for the presence of one another.  We are thankful for the fortune that those we love are healthy.  We are thankful that we have been graced with the ability to make better choices than at any other point in the past,  and that these choices have led to more compassionate lives with the prospect of a more healthful future.

Wild Rice and Millet Stuffing

I’ve always made a bread-based stuffing for Thanksgiving in the past but for whatever reason, I just wasn’t feeling the urge to do that this year.  Instead, I wanted to make something earthy and, to my mind, far more wholesome and sustaining.  It also happens to be gluten-free, which gives those with gluten intolerances another option for holiday dressings.  I thought the combination of wild rice and millet would make a beautiful duo when melded together with seasonal fruits and vegetables.  This dish set the tone for a gorgeous holiday meal.

Ingredients:

1 cup wild rice

1 cup millet

2 stalks celery, finely diced

4 golden beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups Brussels sprouts, quartered

1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup hazelnuts

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

6 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh rosemary

2 sprigs fresh sage

6 cups vegetable stock, divided

Sea salt

Freshly-cracked black pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Add the millet to a hot pot and toast for a couple of minutes.  [You will hear the seeds beginning to pop when they’re ready.]  Add 2 cups of vegetable stock and a pinch of salt.  Bring to a boil and then drop to a simmer.  Cover and cook until the millet is light and fluffy.  This should take about 20 minutes.

In another pot, bring 3 cups of vegetable stock to a boil and add the wild rice.  Reduce heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for 35-40 minutes or until the rice is soft.

Place the bite-sized pieces of beet and the quartered Brussels sprouts on a sheet pan.  Place in the oven and roast for about 30 minutes or until the edges of the vegetables have caramelized.

Add a drizzle of olive oil to a pan and add the celery, shallots, leek and garlic.  Cook over medium heat until softened.  Add the fresh herbs. [I like to tie mine together with kitchen twine so that removing the stems isn’t a hassle.]  Add the hazelnuts and dried cranberries and mix well.  Add one cup of vegetable stock and reduce heat to a low simmer.

When the millet is ready, fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl.  Drain the wild rice when ready, if necessary, and add to the bowl with the millet.  Mix in the contents of the pan, removing the herb stems.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Lastly, gently fold in the roasted beets and Brussels sprouts.

I served this in a roasted pumpkin.  If this is how you’d like to present this dish then you will need to get a medium-sized pumpkin and cut a round out of the top.  Clean out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon.  Place the hollowed out pumpkin and the top you removed on a baking sheet.  Place into a 400°F oven for about an hour or until the pumpkin has softened.  Remove from the oven and place upon a plate.  After that it’s just a matter of filling the pumpkin with the stuffing and serving it at table.

 

 

 

Tempeh, Walnut and Roasted Pear Loaf

Roasted pear purée was the key to giving this loaf an amazing seasonal flavor and moist texture.  The ingredient list reads like a Who’s Who of healthful botanical phytochemicals, polyphenols and antioxidants as well as omega-3s.

Ingredients:

16 oz tempeh

4 pears, divided

1 cup shiitake mushroom caps, sliced thinly

1 red bell pepper, diced

½ leek, sliced thinly

2 shallots, minced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

8 cloves roasted garlic

¼ cup ground flax seeds

½ cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs

½ cup chopped walnuts

1 T fresh rosemary, minced

1T  fresh thyme leaves

4 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced

sea salt

freshly-cracked black pepper

olive oil

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Cut 3 pears in half and core.  Place them upon a baking sheet and roast for an hour.  Thirty minutes into the roasting time, add the garlic cloves [wrapped up in some aluminum foil with a small bit of olive oil].

Sauté the leek, shallot, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms in a drizzle of olive oil until softened.  Add the herbs and mix well.

Place the tempeh into a food processor and blend until well crumbled.  Add to the sautéed vegetables, mixing thoroughly.

Remove the pears and garlic from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.

Place the roasted pears and garlic into the food processor and blend until homogenized.  Add to the tempeh mixture on the stove.  Add the flax meal and bread crumbs and stir to combine well.  Season with salt and pepper.

Core the remaining pear and cut into slices.   Line the bottom of a oiled loaf pan with them, overlapping each piece with the previous one.   Spoon out the loaf mix atop the pear slices and fill the pan.  Press down with the back of the spoon to compress the contents well.

Bake for an hour.  Allow to cool slightly and then gently invert onto a serving plate, pear side up.

 

 

Persimmon and Cranberry Gravy

I served this over some steamed green beans with roasted chestnuts [pictured above] as well as spooning it over the tempeh, walnut and roasted pear loaf.  This tart, tangy and sweet gravy tastes wonderful with savory dishes.

Ingredients:

3 cups organic unfiltered apple juice

1 persimmon, peeled and cut into a large dice

4 cloves garlic, smashed

4 sprigs fresh thyme

Zest of one orange

1 T while balsamic vinegar

½ cup fresh cranberries

Sea salt

Directions:

Place the apple juice, vinegar, garlic, persimmon, orange zest and thyme into a pan and bring to a simmer.  Reduce volume by half [~20 minutes].  Add reduced contents to a blender and blend until homogenous.  Return gravy to the pan and add the cranberries.  Bring to a low simmer and cook until the cranberries have popped [~10 minutes].  Season to taste with salt.

 

Raw Pumpkin Custard

The notion of a raw pumpkin pie has been tugging at my brain for a long time now.  Thing is, I wasn’t in the mood for a high caloric raw pie crust full of nuts and dates and such things after having such a large meal, so I opted to simply make the filling.  It’s all anyone ever really eats anyway, right?

Ingredients:

a small sugar pumpkin [mine yielded ~2 cups peeled pumpkin flesh]

one young Thai coconut [mine yielded ~1.5 cups coconut meat]

coconut water from the Thai coconut

6 medjool dates, soaked and pitted

¼ cup almond meal

4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 T fresh ginger, minced

1 tsp cardamom

½ tsp freshly-grated nutmeg

½ vanilla bean

1 tsp lemon zest

pinch of salt

agave syrup, to taste

Suggested garnishes:  raisins, almonds, roasted pumpkin seeds, citrus zest, freshly-grated nutmeg, cinnamon

Directions:

Seed and peel the pumpkin [I reserved and roasted the pumpkin seeds to use as a garnish].  Cut into a medium-sized dice.  Set aside.

Hack into the coconut [Great how-to video here], reserving the coconut water and flesh.  Set aside.

Add the pumpkin, dates and coconut flesh to a food processor and process until smooth.  Add the coconut water to aid the blending until you get a thick but smooth consistency, remembering that you can always add more liquid but can’t remove it.

Split the vanilla bean and remove the seeds with the back of a paring knife.  Add to the food processor along with the other spices.  Blend well.  Add the almond meal, ginger,  lemon zest and pinch of salt.  Process until smooth.   Add agave syrup to taste.  Place in the refrigerator to chill.

The almond meal will help to thicken the pumpkin pudding just as the coconut water will loosen its consistency.  You can adjust this to your tastes as you wish.

This is really nice served with a ginger cashew cream like the one I made here, and garnished with raisins, zests, nuts and seeds.

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A couple of weeks ago, Jasmin Singer of Our Hen House, and her partner Mariann Sullivan, shared on Facebook that they were going to begin a 10-day juice cleanse because they felt the need to “reboot” their systems.  Jasmin welcomed any and all to join them in the venture.  Over the course of the following few days, the idea intrigued me more and more because I’d never experienced such a thing.  Having always been somewhat curious about fasting/cleansing, I decided that I’d jump in with both feet and commit to the experience.   

It wasn’t as difficult as I’d imagined it would be.  Yes, I missed hot food and the textural quality of meals, but when I reminded myself that I was treating my body to a rich source of exceptionally digestible phytonutrients, thereby giving my digestive system a breather, things just didn’t seem quite so austere.  It also helped my will-power tremendously to know that I wasn’t alone in the undertaking.  The interesting results were that aside from losing five pounds, there were no physical manifestations that I could detect.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that there weren’t any, I just didn’t experience any of the usual detoxification symptoms such as crankiness, headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue or skin blemishes.   I suppose that it could be a testament to just how cleanly we have eaten this past year since we cut out all processed foods and animal products.  I know that I certainly feel better since we embarked upon our own food revolution, and I’m quite sure that Heather does as well.

In one of the last video logs of her juice cleanse, Jasmin remarked that she and Mariann would  like to start incorporating more healthy raw foods into their diets.  From my perspective, this was a fabulous thing to hear because it afforded me the opportunity to thank them, in my own particular way, for allowing me to tag along on the journey, and for all the support and community they provided along the way.  Simply because I didn’t manifest any outward symptoms of a cleansing doesn’t mean that I didn’t learn anything from the experience!  And so, Jasmin and Mariann…I raise my fork to you both in gratitude by dedicating the creation of my very first raw entrée to you.  I wish you and yours good health and vast happiness.

 

Raw Asian Mushroom Stroganoff with Blackberries

I purposefully chose the Asian pear, lemon zest and Brussels sprouts to add sweetness, bitterness and a touch of refreshing acidity, respectively, in order to cut through a very rich mushroom sauce which would otherwise become quite monotonous.   [I never could eat an entire plate of Fettuccine Alfredo for this very reason.]   Adding a variety of textures to a dish is also very important to me when considering ingredients.  The Asian pear “noodles” add a softness that is more familiar when thinking of a “noodle” dish than the interestingly crunchy texture of kelp noodles.  I also chose Brussels sprouts because Jasmin mentioned that Mariann was rather fond of them.  If you don’t share this love of the cruciferous, you could easily substitute with thinly sliced endive.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

1 bag raw kelp noodles [I used Sea Tangle’s ]

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours [I put them into a container with water the night before and placed it in the refrigerator]

1 Asian pear, spirally sliced [Alternatively, you could certainly use a vegetable peeler or box shredder to create shreds]

4 Brussels sprouts, cut into a chiffonade

6 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 T ground mushroom powder [I simply took equal parts dried maitake and shiitake mushrooms and ground them into a fine powder using a spice grinder]

2 oz  enoki mushrooms

1 T freshly-squeezed lemon juice

½ tsp lemon zest, plus some for garnish

2 tsp fresh thyme, plus some for garnish

¼ tsp sea salt

⅛ tsp white pepper

1 cup water

1 cup fresh blackberries

crushed red pepper flakes

Directions:

Place the dried shiitake mushrooms into the water and allow to rehydrate for at least 30 minutes.  [You shall be using this soaking water later, so do not discard]  Squeeze out any residual water and reserve.  Remove the stems and then slice into thin strips. 

Drain the cashews and toss into a blender.  Add ¾ cup of the reserved shiitake soaking liquid, lemon juice, lemon zest, thyme, salt and pepper.  Process until smooth.  Add the mushroom powder.  Continue blending until the mixture is silky smooth and creamy. 

Slice the Asian pear into spirals or shreds and place in a bowl containing acidulated water [A good squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick].  Rinse the kelp noodles under cold water to separate.  Place both “noodles “into a colander together and drain well.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the Brussels sprouts, sliced rehydrated shiitakes and enoki mushrooms.  Add as much of the creamy mushroom sauce as you wish and mix well.  [I ended up using a tablespoon per serving]

Garnish with the blackberries, lemon zest, thyme and crushed red pepper.

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Our largest local farmer’s market opened this past week and we ventured down there yesterday to prowl the produce.  The selection is still a bit sparse, given that spring has only just begun, yet we were able to find some interesting things.  The organic apples were gorgeous and crisp, as they should be considering that this is Washington state, and greens abounded.  We found some locally gathered stinging nettles and I couldn’t resist the novelty of them.  I’ve had nettle tea in the past but had never prepared, let alone eaten, a nettle.  The other food that made me stop and consider it was rhubarb.  I’ve always believed that I hated rhubarb because of a rather nasty piece of pie I once had, but I forced myself to gather up some of those gorgeous ruby-colored stalks and hand them to the vendor to purchase.  I knew that I could create something with these fearsome stalks that would be tasty, though I wasn’t sure yet just what that would be.  So there I was with organic Pink Lady apples, stinging nettles, rhubarb and Brussel’s Sprouts.  What to do…what to do?

Savory Rhubarb and Apple Sauce with Nettles

Ingredients:

3 apples, divided [2 grated and one diced]

8 stalks rhubarb [3 cups, sliced]

1 lb nettles* [You could substitute any green.  Spinach would work well.]

10 Brussel’s Sprouts

2 cups unfiltered apple juice

1 T light miso paste

1 tsp chili garlic sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

soba noodles

Directions:

Grate two apples and slice the rhubarb.  Transfer to a non-reactive pot and add in the apple juice.  Simmer until the apple and rhubarb dissolve.  Add in the miso paste and chili garlic sauce. 

Nettles should not be handled by bare hand until they have been cooked when the sting is no longer a worry.  Using gloves and kitchen shears, cut the leaves from the stalks.  Add to a pot of simmering water and cook for 10 minutes.  Drain. 

While the sauce is perking away, slice the Brussel’s sprouts in half and add to a pan containing a drizzle of olive oil.  Pan roast on each side until browned.  Add the diced apple to the pan and roast in the same manner as the sprouts. [If your pan is large enough, you can pan roast the sprouts and apple together.]

When the vegetables are about 5 minutes away from being ready, add the soba noodles to boiling water and cook.

Serve the noodles with the sauce and top with the greens, sprouts and apples.

***

*I can now say,  with amazement, that stinging nettles are my favorite green.  They are incredibly tasty and have a great hearty texture.  It’s no wonder, these greens are 40% protein! 

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