Posted on January 26th, 2010 2 comments
Vegetables Grown in the Santa Cruz area make for a great lunch today
oh my goodness! I just ate one of the best things I have made in a very long time. I have been working very hard lately at cleaning up my already pretty clean diet. I am doing this by making sure I get enough seasonal vegetables, and that I get enough “good” fats that I am not tempted by the “bad” ones. This root vegetable gratin satisfies both of those requirements as well as the need for creative deliciousness. Good for both the cook and the eater!
Ever since those darn hippies emerged in the 60′s and began to ask for healthier food that comes straight from the land, raw milk products have been controversial. Personally, I have been using raw cream several times a week for the last 6 months. “Regular” milk and cheese cause me much phlegm, not so the raw cream,it being much easier to digest. I often have a cup of ginger tea with the cream in the evening and it has become a satisfying “dessert”. Yes, it is expensive but that is because Big Agra keeps it that way.
I have written before about root vegetables and their nutritional values. They are available in the farmers’ markets this time of year and through the winter.
If you are a regular reader ( and if you are not, why not??) you followed my Pantry Challenge progress. In cleaning out my cupboard, I found many unopened packages of various kinds of seaweed. This is another vegetable I have been adding into my diet, though somewhat haphazardly, as evidenced by the products in the cupboard. I wanted to bring in this salty as well as nutritious element into this dish.
Root Vegetable Gratin
1 large turnip, 1/2 in. slices ( I didn’t bother to peel it)
1 medium celery root, 1/2 in. slices ( this, I peeled!)
1 medium burdock root, peeled and cut into 1/2 in pieces
2 large carrots, cut on the diagonal in 1/2 in slices
1 c. raw cream
1/4c. raw tahini
1 T herbes de provence
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2c. grated parmesan cheese
I blanched the vegetables, cooking them in boiling water for a few minutes. Drain. Use the olive oil to coat the bottom of a 9×9 baking pan. Layer the vegetables in the dish. In a small saucepan, heat the cream , tahini, and herbes, letting it simmer and thicken for a few minutes. Pour the sauce over the vegetables. Sprinkle the top with the cheese. Bake in a preheated 350º oven for 15 minutes until sauce is bubbly and the cheese is browned.
I didn’t use any salt because both the cheese and the dulse are salty. You could certainly add pepper and/or other herbs of your choice. So, don’t be afraid of raw milk products, and don’t be afraid of sea vegetables!
Posted on January 22nd, 2010 5 comments
Personal Chef Cook Whatcha Got Challenge
I am bowing gracefully out of the Challenge that many of my personal chef friends and I have been doing this last week. I used up a good percentage in items in my freezer. Unfortunately, I also needed to dump too many things. My pantry shelves are cleaned out with a bag for the food pantry and unfortunately a very full bag for the trash.
I appreciate how this made me conscious about my shopping and purchasing of unnecessary items. I need to be more careful about repackaging things, such as putting my grains in glass jars, vacuum sealing what goes in the freezer. I also need to check to see what I have more often. I am not the kind of person who could manage a running list. If I go through the cupboard and freezer occasionally, especially before I go shopping, I might not end up having 3 plastic bags with bits of polenta in them. Time will tell but at least now I have some awareness.
I went shopping yesterday for some produce, eggs, cat food, mineral water, and some chicken… nothing extra. Farmers’ market tomorrow. I still have a jar of the soup I made earlier this week and plans to use the lentils and bacon from the freezer in a meal next week, as well as trying to fit those darn peas in somewhere!
I challenge you to take a look or even a photo of your freezer and do your shopping from your own house for a week. I would love to hear from you about it.
Posted on January 21st, 2010 1 comment
Personal Chefs cook from the Pantry continues still.
This has been a great challenge. My freezer is empty of what should have been discarded. I am in the middle of cleaning and organizing the pantry. I have eaten really well this week without shopping until today. I needed some produce, eggs, and after tomorrow, I will be cleaned out of protein to eat this week, so I bought some chicken. Nothing went in the pantry or freezer though. I am seeing how much food I waste by either buying too much or storing it improperly. Time for me to practice what I preach to my personal chef clients! And it has been great to see my personal chef community take on this challenge and come up with some really creative meals. At the end of the post I will list some blogs where you can read about this.
Tonights dinner was a salad even though it is really not salad weather. It is still quite blustery here in Santa Cruz, not cold but wet! But, I received an excellent recipe in my email box last week and I had enough of the ingredients on hand to make a riff on Lynn Rosetto Casper‘s Pineapple and Winter Greens Salad with Warm Chili-Coconut Milk Dressing. Sticking closer to the recipe would have been better. Having peanuts would have been better, but they are off my diet for now. Napa cabbage as Lynn calls for would have been better than arugula. I will make it again. The sauce is lovely! Here is my version.
Shrimp with Greens and Pineapple with warm chili coconut milk dressing
a big handful of greens/lettuce
2 celery stalks
1 roasted red pepper
1/2 lb peeled and deveined shrimp
1/2 c diced fresh pineapple ( use canned if you have to)
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp. fish sauce
1 T chopped ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 T good chili powder ( I used Rancho Gordo’s new mexican chili pwdr) or more to taste
Arrange the greens and other vegetables on a plate, along with the pineapple. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, fish sauce, and herbs and spices. Bring to a simmer and add the shrimp. Cook until pink and firm. While still hot, place shrimp on the salad and drizzle/pour the sauce over the salad.
Simple. Healthy. Good. The shrimp came from the freezer. The red pepper was from a jar taken from the pantry earlier in the week, as was the coconut milk. Everything else except the greens which I bought today, I had on hand.
Check out these personal chef buddies who are blogging about the challenge and are delightful to read on any day.
Tami of Dine in Diva
Amy from Eats! a personal chef service
MaryBeth Brinkerhoff of For Goodness Taste
From Ladle to Crave in Newport
Martha of Simply Delicious