cleverchickadee


Trial file: Veggie Pie by texaskillet

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So occasionally as you know, I receive recipes in my organics box.  It is important for me to keep most of these, unless they are truly disgusting, and try them out when I have the energy.  This one was really really delish so I thought I would pass it on.

Filling:

4 tbsp oil

1 onion (white, yellow, whatever)

1/2 lb baby bella’s or crimini mushrooms sliced

1 cup of white wine

2 sweet potatoes (or yams)

3 medium carrots chopped up

2 tbsp sage, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup vegetarian broth

salt and pepper

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Topping:

4 medium yukon gold potatoes, chopped

1 head celery root, peeled and chopped

1 head of cauliflower, chopped

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated

In a large frying pan, heat half of oil over medium high heat.  Saute onions until translucent, about 2-3 minutes, add mushrooms and cook until soft, about 3-4 minutes.  Deglaze with white wine and simmer until wine is almost completely absorbed.  Transfer to bowl.

Heat remaining oil in pan and fry potatoes and carrots until just tender, about 10-12 minutes.  Add sage and garlic and saute for another minute or two then add broth.  Simmer until liquid is reduced by half.  Salt and pepper to taste and then combine with onions and mushrooms.   Set aside.

For topping, steam first three ingredients until easily mashed with a fork, roughly 15-20 minutes.  Mix well with butter and heavy cream, but still chunky.  Fold in Cheddar.

Assemble filling in layers in a 9×9 inch baking dish.  Top with mashed veggies.  Add grated Parmigiano cheese and bake for 20 minutes, or until sides are bubbly and heated through.WP_20121227_008WP_20121227_010

Happy Eating and leftovers most likely for a day or two!  YAY!

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Fiddlehead Ferns: Fun with Foraging by texaskillet

There is this whole undercurrent of society that forages for fresh plants to eat. Of course we know that there are people who fish and hunt and kill stuff to eat, but what about the aforementioned grouping.

Last season my hunt for information started with my desire to eat Huckleberries. Of course you could say that I have been foraging for years, as I am sure many of you have. Whenever you went out with the family and your mom had you pick blackberries and put them in a bucket so that she could make her famous cobbler. Whenever you came across a crab apple tree and plucked a few, brought them home and cooked them up with cinnamon, sugar and sometimes a little nutmeg. Whenever you went on a hike and came across some salmonberries or thimbleberries and just couldn’t resist the temptation. The stories go on and on and the occasion to eat something growing wild does the same.

Over the last year as I have started to gather info but not yet the bounty of the wilds I have narrowed my search to a few things. Nettles, berries of all sorts, wild asparagus, apples that aren’t in someone’s orchard & FIDDLEHEAD FERNS. Fortunately for me I don’t like mushrooms so figuring out poisonous vs. nonpoisonous on those bad boys is not an issue.

You may be wondering what Fiddlehead Ferns are, as I was… how do you know when you can pick them or which ones are the right ones? I think I found the answers, but of course would be remiss if I did not encourage you to seek a local professional for guidance. It seems that ferns are non-poisonous in any land you happen to be in. There are preferences out there of course, but well… I am just not that seasoned. I checked the stream local to my house and there were fiddlehead ferns. The problem was, I didn’t yet have all the info. SO, when I got wind that someone was selling the crop they had harvested at the Ballard Farmers Market, I was all over it. Of course since then I know that you would clip right above the ground level and only take three from each plant so that the plant will continue to thrive. I mean you do want to harvest them next year don’t you? Also, I learned that these are only available for a few short weeks in the spring and really should be harvested before they unfurl. These are all good things to know. J I think that I will stay away from the extra hairy ones, that just doesn’t seem as palatable to me.

So how do you prepare a Fiddlehead Fern? Super easy.

-First take your stash and blanch them for 4 minutes.

-Remove them from the water

-Drain off excess and flip them over to a pan with butter, garlic, salt and pepper or really any kind of seasoning that you prefer.

-Sautee until they are the desired tenderness.

I hate hate hate soggy veggies so I go for no longer than 2 minutes. Wahlaaaa! Done and delicious!

I have no doubt that there are hundreds of other ways to use these. I tend to want to keep it simple so I can really enjoy the flavor and let my palate tell me how I will next use something. However, if you have something you have tried, please let me know about it. I need to plan. J

Relish!

 

 

 

 

 



Sprouting, Episode 2: Lentils by texaskillet

I said I would come back with the next installment of the sprouting adventure and well… here I am.

The sprouting of the lentils went well, but they are a lot less “sprouty” than the Quinoa, which is just something of interest that I noted.

With the lentils I combined them with a chop salad that I picked up at a local Italian restaurant. I was going for the; add raw to some raw and some meat proteins.

Kind of my M.O. at this point.

So here’s a photo of the biznasssss about 10 hours into it, loooook how cute they are!

 

And then the finished product after 24 hours, momma mia these are hesitant.

Of course it is, soak for 8-12 hours and then sprout for 2 days!

 

And here is a photo of the partially homemade and partially restaurant bought salad.

It made a delicious and satisfying meal, but what I did figure out is that lentils make my stomach a little uncomfortable.

 

Next up: Sunflower seeds for that ever popular Vitamin D. I think I will make a spread out of that for cucumber dipping. J



Sprouting, Episode 1: Quinoa by texaskillet

On my journey to eating more raw food, I read some good stuff about sprouting.

It went a little something like this:

GROW ORGANIC SPROUTS, cuz it’s fun and good for YOU!

Sprouts are a superfood and may be the most nutritious food on mother earth and are not expensive in the least. You can sprout lots of things. Nearly any type of seed, grain, bean or legume. Some favorites to sprout are: alfalfa, broccoli, clover, fenugreek, lentil, mung bean, mustard, quinoa and sunflower. Sunflower sprouts are one of the few plant sources which provide vitamin D for the vegans and vegetarians. I like that since I am always low on vit. D in the extraordinarily drab fall and winter of the PNW. I blame this on being a relocated Texan. J

For my first adventure in sprouting I decided to go with something that I had on hand. I had no packaging left since I had already transferred it to a storage container so I didn’t even know if it was organic or seasoned or … ?

Who cares I say!!! It’s an experiment after all. The thing about experiments is that you go into a thing knowing that it might not work so your disappointment is not all that huge when it doesn’t.

All you need:

  1. Jar with lid. I prefer the Mason type so that you have the ring and the seal portion that are separate. You won’t need the seal portion for this, just the ring.
  2. Some screen, or cheese cloth or any material that you can drain water through and keep other stuff out.
    1. You could potentially poke holes in the seal portion of the Mason jar lid, but that seems wasteful.
    2. I personally used a window screen that I had stored in the garage after my oldest son cut a hole in it for some unknown teenage rot brain reason. Woot.
  3. Quinoa (in this episode)
  4. Water
  5. Clock

To start, put the desired amount of quinoa in the jar. Place your screen over the opening and screw on the ring. Rinse the quinoa in the jar a few times, then fill the water past the level of the quinoa.

Let the quinoa soak for three hours.

After the three hours has passed, drain the liquid through the screen and then set the jar back on the counter for another 8 hours. Of course you’ll see sprouting action within about one to two hours and you can decide just how sprouted you want them before you serve them up.

After 8 hours you will see something like this:

I like the full sprout of 8 hours. You might wonder how to serve this lovely sprout. I’ll give you my dish. I used it like a spaghetti noodle. In the RAW cooking world, you can’t warm anything to over 115 degrees. Otherwise it is considered cooked. So, I warmed a pot of water to 110 degrees, turned off the heat and then plunged the quinoa in for a warm water bath.

Then I took my RAW sauce consisting of fresh tomato, basil, avocado, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper from the blender (not cooked) put that on top and then added my one cooked item, vegans and vegetarians: close your ears, hot Italian sausage. I ain’t gonna lie, it was good.

I hope you have fun with this sprouting thing should you decide to try it and look for follow up posts. I also think that kids will dig this since they seem to like to watch things transition (plus it’s super easy). Right now I have lentils on the counter, I’ll be back with a post on those. J



Spicy Buffalo Chicken Strips by texaskillet

OMG, yummmmmmm!

Simple. So good.

You’ll need:

Buttermilk

Cornflour (again, no wheat)

Franklin’s hot sauce or whatever kind of buffalo hot sauce you like

Butter

Chicken strips

Frying oil

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

First, get your buttermilk, cornflour into separate bowls. Then get your raw chicken strips ready on a platter of their own. Next pour all of the buffalo sauce into a bowl and add one stick of melted butter to that bowl (whisk together).

Get your dutch oven or frying pot of choice and heat your frying oil of choice (Can’t go wrong with Wesson) to 375 degrees.

When your oil is hot enough, dredge the chicken strips through the buttermilk, then the cornflour and then place in the pot. These do not take very long to fry up and usually are done when the outside is crispy and golden to medium brown. This is usually accurate for chicken strips that were fully defrosted and at room temperature. You’ll want to use your meat thermometer to be sure, or just cut one open when the first batch comes out and eyeball it if you feel up to it.

When you pull the chicken strips from the hot oil, place them on the cooling sheet (mine suspends over the sink so I don’t waste paper towels). After they have dripped off for 30 seconds or so toss them in your buffalo sauce mixture and then place back on the rack.

My kids love these, except the youngest who just gets the pre-buffalo sauced chicken strips. There are never any left over, but then again that might not be saying much if you knew how many people can be in my household at one time. J

Hint: serve these up with hushpuppies!



Hush Little Puppy and Get in My Tummy by texaskillet

Not sure how many of you have ever had the pleasure of making hushpuppies.

Not sure it matters, what matters is that you give it a try. There is something comforting about making these little corny balls of tastiness.

Next time you are having a fish fry or even spicy buffalo chicken strips (recipe to follow) then you may want to give these a go.

There are about five million ways to make these, but I like the below the best… this may be because I am a savory person. Of course I also don’t have to tell you that adding bacon to these would be magical.

 

You’ll need:

1 cup cornmeal (I use Bob’s Red Mill cornflour, no wheat). J

1 t. baking powder

¾ t. salt

1 beaten egg

¾ cup milk

3 T. onion mix (my favorite)

And your preferred frying oil. Filled up to half of whatever pot you want to use. I use my dutch oven on the stove top, but if you are a serious fryer you may have something special… like a fryer.

 

First combine the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Beat the egg and milk together separately and then stir into your cornflour mixture. Add your onions. Using whatever onion mix you want or just keeping it simple with white or yellow onions. Heat 3″ deep of oil in your chosen pot. Drop batter by the tablespoonful into the hot oil when it has reached 375 degrees. Fry 4 or 5 at a time for about 3 minutes each, flipping each one at 1.5 minutes. They should be brown and crispy when you remove them. I like to put a cooling rack over the sink and put them there to drain and cool.

 

Now for a topping… well… forget about it. One word. BUTTER.

 

 



Raw Nut Butter – home smooshed by texaskillet

 

Well… that is it. I got tired of looking for raw nut butter that was not made by some brand I didn’t trust.

So I decided it was time to make it myself. Yay!!!

I love finding new excuses to use my grinder attachment and my Kitchen Aid mixer. So fun!

Bonus: super simple squirrel

 

To start: Purchase as many oz’s as you want of any raw nut, I like to get mine at Trader Joe’s.

I know it may seem strange that I shop there given their love of whole wheat and all things Mango,

both of which I do not love, but hey, I am not the sort to hold a grudge.

 

-Bust out the mixer, add your grinder attachment

-SOAK your NUTS – This removes those nasty little phytates we talked about before

-Slowly feed in the nuts (you don’t want to clog your kitchen appliance)

-Take the shreds and then switch to regular mixer mode

(remove grinder, replace cap, insert mixing hand/hook/beater)

-Start mixing your shreds to a creamy consistency

-If you find that it is too dry, feel free to add some Olive Oil

(more nutty flavor and healthful monounsaturated fats; about 75%)

-Then if you like your nut butter ready to go out of the jar, you can add some Raw honey to the mix.

 

Last step: Find a sealable chalice suitable for your bounty and seal it up tight and store it in the fridge.

Hint: It is rumored that the upside down storage for nut butters makes it so all the oil is not at the top when you go to use it.

It is seriously that easy and way delicious.

 

Then all you need is some Udi’s GF bread and you are sooo soo ready for the best peanut butter toast EVER… oh and a cup of coffee. J

 

 




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