Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Parve
Tomorrow’s my birthday and I wanted a celebratory dessert. I know better than to expect or even hope there will be anything on the menu of the restaurant we are going to that I can eat other than sorbet, so I’ve baked my own birthday dessert. Basically a galette is a free-form pie. It’s really not hard to make and the result is delicious. Although I made an apple galette this time, I am also gearing up to try a plum/nectarine and a multi-berry one too. Keep tuned for the results of the other ones.
Paleo* Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve *
So I got these bunches of greens from the CSA last week and suddenly it was Wednesday and I hadn’t used them yet. I knew that Thursday would bring even more greens so I’d better get to it. I also had purchased at my local farmer’s market a Hen of the Woods mushroom that needed to be used, so here is the really delicious (albeit not too beautiful) result of that marriage.
Hen of the Woods (aka miatake) mushrooms are incredibly flavorful, beautiful, and expensive (they cost $24/lb at the farmer’s market)
They are believed to have many medical uses in addition to being good eating. It’s interesting to me that when you google miatake mushrooms the first entry is http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/maitake-mushrooms, yet when you google hen of the woods mushrooms the entries are all about cooking. According to the cancer.org article “The Japanese word “maitake” means “dancing mushroom” because people in ancient times were said to dance for joy when they found these mushrooms, which were literally worth their weight in silver. ” If you know your mushrooms, you too can dance with joy as miatakes grow here, generally at the base of oak trees.
Preparing hen of the woods mushrooms can be time consuming (especially if you found one yourself). Because of all of the nooks and crannies dirt and little creepy crawly things have lots of places to hang out (not much of a problem with cultivated ones – perhaps making it worth the price). Here’s how I prepared them. First I cut off the bottom and cut the mushroom in half through the stem for easier access to the middle.
Then, using a brush or damp paper towels (brush is easier, towels may be more effective), brush away the dirt (and bugs, if any)
Then cut into pieces.
I LOVED this dish and hope you will too.
Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free
Meatloaf has always been one of my favorite foods in the world – I think that goes back to my days in public school when Thursday was meatloaf day in the cafeteria and really that was the only decent dish they served all week. I would have it with green beans and mashed potatoes and to this day that is one of my go-to comfort combinations – did I mention that I use canned green beans for this memory meal because that’s what they served in the cafeteria – and nowadays I make Colcannon (mashed potatoes with cabbage) to complete the meal. When I am cooking for myself, I make this into 2 smaller loaves and freeze one raw for a future meal. Each little meatloaf makes 2 not-too-large servings so you don’t have to eat meatloaf too many days in a row or can have a single meal with a friend or loved one. Of course if you are a big eater each loaf serves one.
Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve
Today is the first day of my CSA (community sponsored agriculture). For anyone not familiar with the term, it is an arrangement where you join (for lack of a better word) or buy shares from a farm early in the year then during the summer you get free produce from that farm. It works for the farmers who get funds to buy seeds, equipment, pay employees and for the members, fresh vegetables (usually organic) at reasonable prices. My farm is called Roxbury Farm, they are in New York State and have been operating for twenty something years. Each week during the summer I get a newsletter and on Thursdays I pick up the produce at a local church (I’ll take pictures soon). The amount of produce is very generous and I have friends who share my share with me. So what you see here is really only 1/3 of a share – since it is early in the summer, lettuce and greens make up a majority of the share. Look for lots of recipes using my CSA produce.
On Tuesday I promised you a use for pickled onions – here is one: add it to salads to add texture, color and a contrasting flavor. This is just the first of many times you will see them here.
Tahini is the name of a product made of ground sesame seeds (and sometimes oil) and is similar to, but thinner than, almond butter. You can find it in any store that sells Middle Eastern products or in any health food store. It’s also available in some supermarkets. Like almond butter, it will separate into solids on the bottom with oil on the top. Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and without lumps before using in recipes.
The name tahini is also used to describe a dip/dressing made with tahini plus lemon juice, garlic, water, and other seasonings. I always associate tahini with hummos or falafel because that’s how I first encountered it on a trip to Israel – about a million years ago. Now when I have it in my refrigerator I find lots of other things to do with it, especially since going dairy free. It has a creaminess that is somewhat like sour cream. I serve it as a dip with crudities; a sauce with lamb burgers or shish kebobs; and as a dressing for salads.
If I were a really ambitious blogger I would also give you a recipe for your own homemade tahini; but since I’m not that ambitious I will simply refer you to sites where you can get the recipe: http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2012/10/homemade-tahini.html, http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-tahini-73859, http://www.yumsugar.com/Homemade-Tahini-Recipe-25190494. The first site uses only sesame seeds, the other two use oil in addition to the sesame seeds. Having never made it myself, I can’t advise you on that. Having eaten it I can assure it is yummy.
Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve
I must be watching too much Top Chef and Next Food Network Star because the contestants frequently make pickles to compliment everything from grilled meats to soups to salads – you get the picture. I’m probably not the only one because now, when I go to restaurants, I’m getting them on my burgers, with my appetizers, etc – and I find I really like them. Pickles are easy to make and do perk up anything they are paired with. I chose to make onions, but you can use most sliced (I think thicker items, like whole kirby cucumbers need stronger brines and longer pickling times) vegetables and even some fruits (think pickled watermelon 3rinds). These are just mildly sweet and sour (my first try was much more vinegary) and the onions retain their crunch to add texture (my first batch was a little on the mushy side cause I cooked the onions in the vinegar).
I’m trying to assuage my guilt about posting just a condiment with the rationalization that on Friday I’ll be giving you a recipe to use these with. Stay Tuned….