Friday, April 30, 2010

Birthday Photos

Here are some images of the lovely party last weekend for M's birthday. I had so much help (thank you sister, gigi, uncle and husband) that I was able to talk to guests and really enjoy my time. We are surrounded by such a lovely community and the biggest hearted, kindest friends and family. Oh, we are so lucky!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Almond Butter Tempeh with Kale Crisps

My dear friend Jilan introduced me to her mother, Michelle a couple of days back. Michelle told me her recipe for crispy kale while we were on the kindergarten playground, and I have been so excited to make it. Really, when a good recipe gets passed around, it is a cause to celebrate. Thank you Michelle for sharing your dish! And, this past weekend has been all about celebrating my almost 6 year old daughter's birthday with 20 kids at my house, a pinata and the most perfect spring weather one could ask for. One dish on the party menu for the kids this weekend were vegetable spring rolls with a raw almond butter dipping sauce. I wondered about the sauce I had made, but they were  gone in minutes off the appetizer table. So, I made the sauce again tonight with seared tempeh, roasted spring onions and crispy kale. I even ate it with some sips of sauvignon blanc that made me happy summer is just around the corner.

Almond Butter Tempeh with Crispy Kale
serves 4 small dishes

Crispy Kale
1 bunch kale
1 tbls olive oil
pinch salt

Trim stems off kale, and toss with olive oil and salt in a bowl making sure to coat all the pieces with olive oil and salt. Use your fingers to do this. Spread on a cookie sheet making sure not to overlap the kale on each other. This will help it crisp evenly. Bake at 375 degrees until the edges of kale are starting to brown (about 7-10 min). Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet or transfer to plate.

Almond Butter Sauce
1/3 cup raw almond butter
2 tbls tamari
2 tbls rice vinegar
1 tbls fresh lemon juice
stir in a bowl until combined.

Spring Onions
3-4 med to large spring onions
2 tsp. olive oil
Trim top off of onions. Slice down the middle and toss with olive oil and salt. Roast 375 for 15 minutes, or until tender, browned and wilted. (I baked mine when I was cooking the kale)

1 package tempeh cut into 1/2 inch thick strips
1 tbls mirin
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 tsp olive oil

In a heavy skillet, heat olive oil and sear tempeh on each side, about 6 minutes. Add mirin and cover for 30 seconds. Toss or flip tempeh so it does not burn. Add toasted sesame oil and toss tempeh gently. When both sides of tempeh pieces are nicely browned, set aside.

To assemble, arrange tempeh on plate and spoon about 1 tbls of almond sauce on top.  Drape onions on top on tempeh and stack 3 large pieces of crispy kale on top!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Cooking Class

Saturday was my cooking class. Lots of kale, endive and radicchio! I was so lucky to have such wonderful participants, full of questions and ideas! I taught this class at a local cooking school that has opened in our town called In The Kitchen. It is a beautiful space, a pleasure to work in. Light, bright and a wonderful place to learn about all things cooking. Wendy Van Wagner opened this space, and when you meet her, it is obvious how talented and knowledgeable she is. After meeting her, I immediately wanted to go have lunch to talk more about food! Our little town really lucked out to have her expertise in our community. There is a wide range of classes available, perfect for every level of cook. It was a great fit for me.
We are over the pox now. It was really worth going through it for the peace of mind knowing she has life long immunity. Of course, it is a bit ironic that a "chicken pox is sweeping the county" kind of story is on the front page of our small town newspaper. I have appreciated all your wonderful comments on this topic. 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hanging In There!

In the THICK of it. Hundreds of pox and a somewhat tired mother and daughter duo. I got about four hours of sleep last night due being on itch patrol. First night was restless, clingy and weepy. I gave her one dose of pulsatilla and she was asleep 15 min later with no more crying. Yesterday she managed to get a bit of playing in, eat 3 bowls of soup and lay on the couch.
Last night with a white tongue and red tip and constant itchiness, I moved over to high potency rhus tox. She got a four hour stretch of sleep right after. 
Today is pure itch. I am using Weleda diaper cream, calamine lotion, colloidal oatmeal and baking soda baths. I am having to remind myself that supposed life-long immunity has an advantage over booster shots and the CDC does not know if the chicken pox vaccine will provide immunity over a lifetime because the vaccine has only been in use since the mid 90's and there has not been living studies longer than 20 years.
We are hanging in there however and the fabulous Auntie D is coming tonight.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Strawberry & Rhubarb Parfait

So, M woke up with Chicken Pox today! I am pretty excited. She is currently eating udon noodles with butter. She is slightly under the weather, but calm before the storm perhaps? Hasn't lost her appetite though. For her that is always the last to go. No remedies yet, but I am anticipating some Rhus Tox due to her already wanting to itch!

While she was lounging away this afternoon counting her pox, I thought about how inspired I was at my girlfriend's house yesterday. I came over to pick up M from some play time with her best friend, and she had whipped together a strawberry rhubarb pie. It was really wonderful, tart, sweet and in season. Then her partner came home and he let me try a batch of lavender shortbread cookies he had just made the day before. I was in heaven! So today with my over-the-hill strawberries, I made a compote with rhubarb to assemble a parfait. A couple of weeks back I was drooling over Fix Me A Snack's post called Yogurt 101, and this is a spin on her version of Rhubarb Compote with Strawberries.  I wanted it to be "sugar" free, but I did add a teaspoon of rose petal sugar from AllStar Organics to the compote because it is so luscious and indulgent, especially paired with strawberries.

Instead of using traditional sugars, I used honey and maple syrup which substituted nicely in the rest of the parfait. The vanilla beans I initially bought some months back because I was so curious how 2 oz. of ground vanilla beans could sell for less than $5. Creating this link however, I am noticing that the website charges over $12 for the same thing! Either way, I love using these ground beans in sauces, whipped cream, cakes.... anything I can get away with. I use a sieve to separate the seeds from the larger pieces and it works nicely to make sure it is not clumpy when I add it to wet ingredients.
I ate this for lunch. I was really impressed with the floral flavors, and how well the greek yogurt blended in with the fruit!

Strawberry & Rhubarb Parfaits
makes 2 parfaits

1 cup rhubarb cut into small cubes
1 1/2 cup strawberries cut into small cubes
1 tbls honey
1 tsp orange flower water
1 tsp rose petal sugar
very small pinch salt

1 1/2 cups low fat organic greek yogurt
1/2 tsp raw ground vanilla beans
1 tbls maple syrup

1/2 cup toasted, blanched, slivered almonds

In a small bowl, add yogurt, maple syrup and ground vanilla beans. Mix well and set aside for flavors to meld. 

In saucepan add strawberries and rhubarb. Add pinch salt and cook for around 8 minutes or until strawberries start loosing their shape and rhubarb is soft. Remove from heat and add flower water and rose petal sugar. Cover and set aside for a couple of minutes to let flavors mingle.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add almonds and put on med-high heat. Stir almonds frequently so they don't burn, but brown nicely. This takes about 5 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool.

To assemble, add one layer of compote, one layer of yogurt and one layer of almonds. Repeat so that almonds end up on top. If you are making these ahead of time, wait to put the last layer of almonds until before serving so they stay crunchy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sleeping Beauty

Spring started off with a play and soup, and I am hoping it ends with the chicken pox. The middle parts are filled with a trip to San Francisco.
Here are some photographs of a play the girls created during their time together on Monday. They called it "The Princess Meets The Witch", but I thought is was a lot like Sleeping Beauty. There were costume changes, a dressing room behind the curtain and lots of giggles.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Coriander & Mung Bean Soup

A few posts back, I made sweet potato and mung bean stuffed cabbage leaves. I found it to be so enjoyable, it has not left my mind. Since we have had snow, sleet, hail and rain in the last three days, I thought it was still weather appropriate to make a warm and spicy soup. So, today I made a soup like the cabbage roll filling, only lighter, spicier and easier. I worried it might be too much spice, but went for it anyway. I actually made this soup in our friends kitchen today while monitoring a play date with a 6, 5 and 3 year old. I was treated to a home grown play of Sleeping Beauty (pictures of that are coming soon!) while the soup was cooking in my pressure cooker. As soon as it was done, I offered it as a snack to the budding thespians. The three year old at first refused. The older girls (one of which is mine) agreed to try a taste. Both loved it. It took a bit, but the three year old finally tried it, and liked it as well. Tonight at dinner I made free-range meatballs to add to M's bowl of this soup. She ended up eating three bowls of meatballs with her soup. I was in awe as she kept asking for more. D and I kept looking at each other, wondering how much is enough or should we say "no"? We did ask her to take a break between helpings, specifically saying "ok sweetie, it is time to take a rest, and check in with your belly." She would sit there for 5 minutes, talk about the nature of the universe ("daddy, what came before space?") and ask for more. It took 2 trips to the stove to help herself, but finally she asked to be excused, saying she was done. I started in on the dishes and 20 minutes later she sneaked another from the bowl I was about to put in the fridge for leftovers. Just now on her way to bed, I asked how her belly was feeling.."GREAT MOM!!" she announced enthusiastically. Then she did a sit-up while hanging from her dad's shoulders upside down which she does every night before brushing her teeth and reading books.

Coriander  & Mung Bean Soup

1/4 - 1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion
1 cup finely chopped carrot
1 cup finely chopped celery
2 cups finely chopped sweet potato
2 cloves finely diced garlic clove
1 tbls. fennel seed coarsely chopped
1 1/2 tsp. coriander seeds (grind in coffee or spice grinder)
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tbls. ras el-hanout powder
1 cup dried mung beans
6 cups stock
pinch salt
1 bay leaf
1 lemon (juice and zest)

In pressure cooker or soup pot, add olive oil and onion. Sautee for 5 minutes then add cumin, coriander, cinnamon, fennel and ras el-hanout. Then add carrot, celery and sweet potato. Sautee for 10 minutes and add mung beans, bay leaf and stock. Add lemon zest and juice. Cover and cook 90 minutes in soup pot or 50 minutes in pressure cooker. If using a pressure cooker, bring to full pressure and then turn down to simmer for remaining time. Season with salt after soup is cooked.


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