Posted on November 21st, 2011 1 comment
time for root vegetables
We have moved into full on root vegetable season and so it is time to pull out this favorite recipe of mine. They are a frequent item on my personal chef service menus. Today it is carrot patties but any root vegetable that you can grate works beautifully. I have made them with celery root,turnips, parsnips, as well as a mix of several different vegetables including winter squashes. These are really a version of latkes which traditionally are made with potatoes. Today they have an Asian kind of flair. You can season them however you like – like Italian ? blend in some rosemary, oregano, and maybe even some parmesan cheese. Mexican ? use squash and add in some cumin and chili. Top with guacamole.
Root vegetables in general are a powerhouse of good nutrition. They are high in B vitamins. Since they grow IN the ground, they contain lots of minerals ( as well as energetics of the earth element). They are very high in fiber. This time of year, they are abundant and fairly inexpensive.
Carrots contain lots of anti oxidants, beta carotene, and Vitamin C. In the spring we enjoy eating the tiny new carrots ( the REAL baby carrots, not the designer ones in the bags in the store) and this time of year, go ahead and eat the big ones. They are perfect for this recipe.
This is one of those recipes that constantly evolves. I have blended information from several recipes over the years, combined with experience and what my current tastes and nutritional needs are. I love that about cooking. I look at recipes as guides, as a partially filled in canvas. Feel free to add your tastes to this one.
1 c. grated carrots ( or any combination of root vegetables or squash that you like)
2 T. coconut flour
2 T. dried seaweed ( I use either wakame or dulse)
1 tsp. or more of fresh grated ginger
pepper to taste
2 fresh eggs, from pasture raised chickens
1 T. melted butter or coconut oil, as well as more for frying ( a few tablespoons)
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes while frying pan/griddle heats. Coat the pan with enough oil so patties don’t stick. Drop batter by large spoonfuls onto hot pan. You decide if you want them small ( if you are having this as a side dish) or larger ( for a main course). Cook a few minutes on each side.
I have served them with a simple sauce of tahini and miso ( about 3 parts tahini to 1 part miso, mix in 2 parts water) and have also enjoyed eating them plain. I think they make a fabulous breakfast!
* The photographer in me feels compelled to apologize. The carrots were indeed a deep beautiful orange color. I have yet to master the art of using my phone camera for inside pictures. This process today has definitely inspired me to replace my non working ( non phone) camera.
Posted on February 6th, 2011 1 comment
Whetting your appetite
We are moving ever closer to spring and I am contemplating new items for my personal chef clients’ menus. I thought I would whet your appetite with some pictures and descriptions of some of the things my clients have eaten lately. Some things stay on the menu year round and many things are seasonal. As you faithful readers of this blog know, I am a firm believer in eating according to the seasons. The reasons are many. The quality of locally grown in season food is higher, has more nutritive value, and is less expensive. Each season has its own energies, as does the food that grows during that time.
I must admit I am ready for the spring produce – peas, asparagus, strawberries! But, we have a few more weeks of root vegetables and squashes ahead of us. We are blessed here in California with an early spring but Mother Earth is still resting and waiting and so must we.
Here is a Winter Vegetable Stew I made for a vegetarian couple, rich with mushroom broth and locally cultivated mushrooms, winter squash, celery root, celery, onions, spinach, and sundried tomatoes which were picked and dried in the height of the season and so carry that life force in them.
A soup that sticks around most of the year is Chicken Noodle soup. Obviously, this was not for the same clients, but a family who orders soup every week. Here is where I get to be creative. I hardly ever use a recipe for soup. I have a memory of a recipe or a concept and either see what looks good at the market and/or what is available in the fridge. This means each time it is a one of a kind masterpiece, never to be exactly repeated. This soup contains chicken thighs which I find have so much more flavor and richness, especially good for soups and stews. It also has onions, carrots, celery, spinach and noodles. This day, I used what noodles were available in the clients’ cupboards. It also has a healthy dose of garlic, and some salt and pepper.
Next up is a recipe, often requested by my vegetarian clients, from the wonderful Molly Katzen for Spaghetti Squash Pancakes. You first bake the squash and when cooked scrape out the flesh which is noodle like in shape. Personally, I have never quite gotten into using this squash as a substitute for noodles but many people do. The batter is simple with the cooked noodles, rice flour, onion, eggs, salt and pepper. I like using red onion and adding some fresh thyme. This definitely is a seasonal recipe, appearing in the fall and winter. These clients love little patties and cakes so I am sure some sort of spring pancake will be on their menus soon, perhaps peas.
Lastly is a recipe I found on a piece of paper when cleaning out my garage. I suspect it is a Zone diet recipe but I cannot give appropriate credit for it. Delicious little good for you cookies, made of dried figs, almond flour, salt, vanilla,orange zest, and a bit of coconut oil. ( the oil was not in the original recipe) Happily, they are processed sugar free, grain free, and gluten free.
Almond Fig Bites
2 cups almond meal
1 c. ( 6 oz) soft dried figs ( one of my personal chef friends suggested subbing apricots, yum!)
2 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 T. coconut oil
Heat oven to 325º. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
Blend all the ingredients in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal, about 1 minute.
Form dough into small slightly flattened balls and place on baking sheet 1/2 in. apart. ( cookies do not spread during baking). Bake until bottoms of cookies are slightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes, turning pan once half way through. Cool and eat!
There is a small taste of what has been keeping me busy lately. I love my work as a personal chef. Every day is different and every client is different. Stay tuned for Spring will surely come and new ideas will emerge along with the new vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
This post is part of GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister. Head over there and read all the other interesting posts, please.
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!