Friday, July 31, 2009

Raw Cilantro Lime Chutney

We had a cooler evening yesterday, perfect for Indian food I thought. I made up a double batch of the Lentil and Spinach Dal recipe from my cookbook along with two different curries. One was a potato chickpea curry and the other was a patty pan squash curry. We served everything over brown basmati rice. With all of the cooked food I like to serve something raw that will help digest the meal.

I began making this raw cilantro lime chutney a year or two ago. The flavors were inspired from a chutney served at this wonderful Indian restaurant adjacent to the Kirkland PCC (Seattle area). Tom and I used to occasionally dine there years ago while we were attending Bastyr University.

My children don't eat the chutney, it's just too spicy for them, though they always love the dal and curries I serve it with! We hope you enjoy this too!

Raw Cilantro Lime Chutney

Serve this chutney with a spicy lentil dal or curried vegetable dish. You can use my measurements below or just toss the ingredients into the food processor with wild abandon and see what comes of it. Most likely it will be delicious, this is how I do it anyways! :)

2 large jalapeño peppers, seeded 
2-inch piece of peeled ginger
4 large cloves of garlic
zest from 1 large lime
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

2 large bunches cilantro (stems and leaves)
juice from 1 large lime
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Place the jalapeño peppers, ginger, garlic, lime zest, and salt into a food processor fitted with the "s" blade and process until minced. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined. Store in your refrigerator for up to a week. 

Other raw recipes you might enjoy:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Emily's Ginger Cookies (gluten-free, nut-free, egg-free, vegan)

I received an email from a reader about two weeks ago for an allergen-free ginger cookie. When I saw the recipe I knew I had to give them a try. Here is the lovely email that Pam sent me:

Ali, I have been following your blog for a while. We are gluten-free, dairy-free, corn-free, and some other stuff, and I have enjoyed reading your recipes. Recently my niece has been tested as intolerant to gluten, rice, dairy, egg, corn, cane sugar, yeast, vanilla, cinnamon, apple, and others. I sent her family a link to your website for rice-free recipes. I have been working on a cookie recipe that would work for little Emily (who is not yet two). Today's batch was quite successful, and I thought I would share it with you, since you have shared so much with us.

Pam also mentioned in a follow-up email that she needed to design a recipe that other family members could eat. So soy, nuts, and a number of other spices were also out. They could also only use small amounts of higher-fructose syrups like honey and agave.

Thanks Pam for all of your experimenting! I made this recipe yesterday with my 5 year old nephew and needed to modify it a little. I added a few tablespoons more oil and date soaking water and also a little vanilla and cinnamon. After the cookies came out of the oven my nephew exclaimed that "these were like the best cookies he has had in like 5 years!"

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we did. My 7 year old daughter was asking this morning when I was going to make them again!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing Recipe

We've been enjoying our time this week at camp GG's, a name we coined for Grandma and Grandpa's house on the lake in the Midwest. The kids get to spend these endless summer days biking, swimming, water skiing, kayaking, and chasing fireflies at dusk.

I have had a number of requests for a dairy-free ranch dressing recipe. So here it is. I was planning on posting this last Thursday evening, but my lovely sister-in-law went into labor that evening with her third baby. She was helping me with the photos you see here while she was having a few mild contractions. After all of the kids were asleep things picked up quickly and we barely made it to the hospital before she pushed a healthy baby girl out in less than two minutes! Amazing!

I used a buttermilk ranch spice blend from Penzeys Spices in this recipe. You can order it online here. If you want to try and recreate this blend on your own then here are the ingredients: salt, bell peppers, garlic, onion, sugar, black pepper, parsley, thyme, and basil.

This dressing is so tasty that this batch has nearly disappeared in two days! Even the die-hard ranch dressing lovers here have been enjoying it.

Dairy-Free "Buttermilk" Ranch Dressing

This dressing is better after the flavors have had time to meld. Give it about a day and the tartness from the lemon juice will lessen. Use this as a salad dressing over crispy greens topped with summer vegetables or use it as a dip for carrot and celery sticks. Store in the fridge for up to 10 days.

1 cup raw cashews
1 cup water
2 to 4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon Herbamare
1 teaspoon dried dill
cracked black pepper, to taste

Place the cashews, water, and garlic into a blender fitted with a sharp blade or a vita-mix. Blend until very smooth and creamy. Then add in all of the remaining ingredients and blend again until just combined.

Pour into a glass jar and refrigerate overnight. Shake and pour over your favorite salad. Enjoy! :) 

Note: If you don't have the spice mix you can easily add the individual dried herbs to your blender and make an equally delicious dressing (I've done this several times)! Add some garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, dried parsley, dried thyme, and dried basil to your blender with the other ingredients. You can taste and add more of a certain herb if needed. You may need a little extra sea salt too (the spice mix contains salt).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Slow Cooked Chicken Tacos plus more Meal Ideas!

This past Thursday I had a cooking class. A dessert class to be exact. There is a lot to prepare the day of a cooking class. Not only do I need to make sure I have all of my recipes printed and ready to go, I also need to pack up most of my kitchen to go with me. Then there is the shopping, class, and clean-up. But when there are children involved, and in my case, four of them, I also need to prepare dinner and make sure the house is in order for the babysitter.

And to top it all off, Tom was away in Washington DC attending a Functional Medicine Conference on restoring gastrointestinal equilibrium. Needless to say, he couldn't be there for the class like we had planned. I am sure his time was well spent though!

So dinner? Something easy, make-ahead sort of deal that doesn't require much effort for the sitter. My mind was spinning Thursday morning as to what to make. Bean Soup. No, too hot. Salmon and potatoes. No, too much timing and work for someone else to do. Okay, I got it. I'll slow cook chicken in the oven earlier in the day and shred it for tacos. Make brown rice, cut up cabbage and avocados. Set out tortillas. Done.

It worked and was delicious, though I didn't measure my amounts so my recipe below is just a guesstimate. Though I think with this type of recipe you can't go wrong. Just use your intuitions when measuring. It will be great! :)

We have been enjoying these for lunches the past few days. I added chopped napa cabbage, diced avocado, cherry tomatoes from our garden, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. I snapped these photos yesterday at lunchtime. Read below for more meal ideas.

Slow Cooked Chicken Taco Filling

This recipe can be made ahead of time and then reheated when needed. Extras can also be frozen if needed. I think this recipe may work in a crock pot though I haven't tried it. Use this to fill corn or rice tortillas. Or, one of my favorites, napa cabbage leaves! Add in brown rice, avocado, a squeeze of lime, and cherry tomato halves. Enjoy!

1 Ancho chili, seeded*
1 cup boiling water
4 cloves garlic
½ teaspoon (add more for a kick) chipotle chili powder
1 to 2 tablespoons ground cumin
3 teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare
3 pounds uncooked chicken breast and/or thigh meat
1 medium onion, diced
3 cups tomato puree*
few tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the ancho chili in a small bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Then place the chili and soaking water into a blender with the garlic, chipotle chili powder, cumin, and salt. Blend on high until pureed.

Place the pureed chili mixture into a large casserole dish with the remaining ingredients. Cover and bake for 1 hour. Remove cover, stir, and bake for 1 more hour uncovered.

After it is done, use the back of a large spoon to mash the chicken until it begins to fall apart. Taste and add any extra salt or seasonings to bring it up to flavor.

*Notes: I use Bionaturae Strained Tomatoes. Ancho chilies are dried poblano peppers. I buy mine in the bulk spice section at my local co-op.

I have recently been asked a number of times for more main dish meal ideas. I do have many, but it is not always practical to stop right before a meal to take a photo or 2 or 3 or 4. If I had more time, and didn't have hungry children waiting for dinner, I probably would post more main dish meals.

Tonight I made an easy dinner of baked halibut, penne pasta (Tinkyada brand), and a quick sauté of veggies from our garden (walla walla onions, summer squash, collards, and kale). Nothing fancy, just simple ingredients, but very nutritious and satisfying.

For the halibut, I grabbed a few small handfuls of herbs from my garden (oregano, marjoram, rosemary, parsley, and chives). I minced these with a few cloves of garlic. After sprinkling the halibut fillet with Herbamare (or sea salt) and black pepper, I added a nice layer of the minced herbs. A few dashes of olive oil and a couple of lemon slices topped it all off. Baked in the oven at 425 until done, about 15 minutes.

Other Main Dish Meal Ideas:

I cook a large pot of beans about once a week. A different bean each week. Black, pinto, pink, or garbanzos usually. Then I incorporate the cooked beans into a meal. Maybe burritos one night, rice and bean bowls for lunch the next day, or a bean soup if it is chilly.

Got any great main meal ideas to share? I am sure others reading would love to hear. If you feel so inclined you can post your ideas in the comment section below. Happy Cooking!

Here are a few other easy meal ideas from my blog:

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gluten-Free Maple Raspberry Scone Recipe (vegan)

We've been very busy around here lately. Berry season is in full swing and that means it's picking time! Yesterday evening I took the kids out by myself to pick berries. Raspberries and blueberries. There is a small, family-run organic farm not too far away from us that offers u-pick organic berries. We go every year.

My 18 month old twins jumped out of the car last night and ran over to the raspberry bushes exclaiming, "wow, wowa, wow, wowa"!!! They began picking and gorging on the big, luscious berries immediately! And for the first time ever, filled their buckets with a few berries. We ended up picking 27.5 pounds of berries! I have to say that my girls are a big help and picked quite a bit themselves!

The photo above is of one of my twins taken a few weeks ago. It was our first berry picking adventure of the season and as you can see, many of the berries were not ready yet. This is why they were so excited last night!

This morning I made a raspberry scone recipe that I thought I would share. I made it the other day with chopped fresh cherries and almonds but I like them much better with the tart and tangy raspberries.

I have a cooking class tonight (7/16) at the Bellingham Food Co-op. For those of you that are local I think there still may be a few spots left. It is a yummy dessert class full of gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, sugar-free desserts! Certainly not taste-free though! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cherry Pumpkin Seed Flour Muffins (sugar-free, grain-free)

We have been picking pounds of cherries from our lovely friend’s cherry tree. Every year they give us a call in July when their cherries are ready and a call in late August when their peaches are ready. Both of their trees abundantly produce the most amazing cherries and peaches. Even after picking boxes of fruit there is still more on the trees!

We pit and freeze (I use this cherry pitter) most of the cherries for our children. They all have a frozen fruit snack addiction. I normally don’t keep traditional snack foods in the house such as packaged crackers, cookies, and bars so when they are hungry they push a stool over to the freezer and help themselves to bowlfuls of frozen fruit. This is usually cherries, blueberries, raspberries, and peaches. I also freeze plums and pears in September but they don’t go for those!

I have been working on more recipes using super nutritious pumpkin seed flour. I must have had beginner’s luck with my Chocolate Pumpkin Seed Flour Cake because my other attempts have not been so successful. This flour is like none other that I have baked with. Pumpkin seed flour seems to suck up a lot of liquid! When testing recipes, I would keep adding more liquid to the batter because it seemed so thick. The end, baked result was soggy and never quite cooked all the way through.

With my previous attempts, I tested egg-free recipes. Since these weren’t so successful, I decided to use eggs again. After mixing this recipe up I thought to add more liquid because again, the batter was sooo thick! But I stopped and thought just to bake them as is, and see what happens. They came out perfect! Finally, a pumpkin seed flour recipe I can share with you.

If you would like to purchase this flour you can click here for ordering info.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cucumber Tomato Basil Salad

After a temporary break of much needed spring-like rain, summer is back! We spent the day at the beach. The kids waded in the ocean and found purple and orange starfish in the tide pools. The boys were happy to dig in the sand for a few hours. And me? Well I got to lounge in the sun and talk with a friend while I ate this refreshing summer salad.

I am posting this recipe as part of Diane's Friday Foodie Fix. Diane posts a new ingredient each week on her blog The Whole Gang where fellow food bloggers can add a recipe link. Please check it out for many more delicious recipes using cucumbers!

Here I used English cucumbers and basil from the Farmer's Market, and local tomatoes from our food co-op. This simple recipe comes from my cookbook.

If you have any additional ways to use the bounty of summertime cucumbers then please share them in the comment section below. Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Soup (Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free)

Somehow soup and stew weather has crept into July, I mean the temperature isn't even 60 degrees right now! I crave warming, soothing cooked foods in cold weather. This rich mushroom soup is perfect!

If it is hot where you reside then save this recipe for Autumn and serve it with a loaf of crusty gluten-free french bread and a salad of greens, crispy apples, and pumpkin seeds with a good balsamic dressing.

I will admit here that my girls wouldn't try this soup (was it the color?), but my boys (18 month old twins) tried some and then ate two bowls each!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Festive 4th of July Treats!

Summer BBQ's, potato salad, layered jell-o salads, fireflies, and sparklers flashing through the humid July night sky....these are my 4th of July memories growing up in the Midwest.

Since layered jell-o salads just aren't in my cooking repertoire anymore I have devised something even more delicious...and good for you!

I decided to take two recipes from my cookbook and combine them; the Cherry Apple Pudding and the Blueberry Fruit Pie. I used the ratios for the pudding and the ingredients for the pie to create these fancy, festive little treats. The juice glasses can be found at Fred Meyers for $1.49 each, though I have found them at Goodwill before too. You can use any small, clear glass you have on hand though.

All of the berries, except the blueberries, are from my garden. If you decide to make this for the 4th of July, then you can prepare the filling and cashew cream up to a day before and chill in the refrigerator, covered. Add the fruit up to 3 hours before serving.