Patrick & Farrah

Hang-dried herbs

I am always saving and col­lecting little glass bot­tles. They’re so per­fect for home­made spice mixes, sauces, dress­ings, baby food, yogurt… you name it. They also line my med­i­cine cab­inet brim­ming with assorted home­made creams, tinc­tures, tooth­paste, and other ridicu­lous con­coc­tions. I espe­cially love cram­ming a bit of earth and tree moss into them to fill any barren nooks in this house that are needing a little green. Speaking of green…

Used glass herb bot­tles are almost always upcy­cled in my home as… yes, herb bot­tles. And since har­vest season is upon me again, I’ve been busy at work bot­tling up pieces of my garden to accom­pany me through winter. And my pre­ferred method of pre­serving them: hang-drying. Undoubt­edly the eas­iest and most inex­pen­sive way to dry herbs and the best method for yielding the highest quality flavor. In case you’re inter­ested, this is what I do…

    Sup­plies:

  • herbs for drying
  • twine/string
  • paper bags
  • sta­pler
  • wooden laundry clips

DIRECTIONS:

♠ Pre­pare herbs: Note — the lower mois­ture vari­eties are best suited for air-drying (sage, thyme, dill, rose­mary, etc.) whereas the higher mois­ture vari­eties (basil, mint, etc.) are more prone to molding if not dried quickly. I, how­ever, have dried both this way and have never had prob­lems with mold. If pos­sible, har­vest herbs when they are heav­iest with fra­grance (or when their oils are most con­cen­trated = best flavor). Gen­er­ally this is before they flower. Cut the herbs in mid-morning when the dew has dried but before the hot sun.

♠ Cut branches (longer stems are easier for bundling) and gently shake to remove insects or dirt. Pick off damaged/dead leaves. Refrain from washing them after this point as it will only remove some of the essen­cial oils, thus com­pro­mising flavor. It would be better to give them a little rinse the day before or early morning and then allow it to dry com­pletely before har­vesting. Because I garden organ­i­cally I don’t have to worry about chem­ical residue either.

♠ Bunch herbs together in small, similarly-sized bunches (~5–10 branches). Use smaller bunches for higher-moisture herbs.

♠ Using some string or swine, tie the stems together tightly (they may loosen/shrink as they dry). You will want the herbs to hang upside down. This will allow the oils to flow from the stems into the leaves.


♠ Grab your paper bags. Label them with the herb name and date. To allow for some cir­cu­la­tion, snip/punch sev­eral small holes into the bag. Cov­ering your herbs with bags helps pro­tect the leaves from direct sun­light and dust. Leave some length to your string to allow it to escape through the top as you care­fully place each bundle of herbs upside down inside its respected bag. Secure the end of the string as you pinch the bag closed and clamp with a staple or two. I prefer this method as it allows the whole of the bundle to hang freely.


♠ Hang bags in a warm, dry, airy room (where there is plenty of ven­ti­la­tion and no mois­ture). Never the kitchen — too many smells and mois­ture floating around. A dry cellar, hallway, or bed­room work great. Use wooden laundry clips and addi­tional string to sus­pend bags or clip them some­where they will be secure (like an unfin­ished fall banner…hmm).

♠ Allow herbs to dry for 1–2 weeks (the higher-moisture vari­eties take longer to dry).


♠ Remove the herb bun­dles from the bags and observe for mold growth. If any mold is noted then throw them away. The leaves should be com­pletely dry and crunch/crumble between your fin­gers. Strip the dried leaves from the stems and dis­card the stems. Tip: For smaller leaves, like thyme, I’ve found it helpful to remove the leaves by gently pulling my fin­gers down the stem against the leave growth. Keep the leaves as intact and whole as you can as this will help keep some of their won­derful qual­i­ties (crush them only before you use them).

♠ Store the dry leaves in clean, dry, glass con­tainers with tight-fitting lids away from sunlight.

Resources: here, here, and here.

November 19th, 2012
Sorted in DIY, Kitchen

Cashew Cheese

Quick recipe share. I’ve prob­ably made this a dozen times now. I had my eye on it during an excur­sion to Barnes&Noble some time back and cheated by snap­ping a iphoto of it (returning home with guilty plea­sure). The recipe was also highly rec­om­mended to me by a good friend and fellow raw/organic food lover. It can be found in the Veg­News Mag­a­zine, September+October 2012 issue (page 68). You can also visit Kristen’s page to view her recipe and photos! As a dis­claimer, if you’re looking for a cheese alter­na­tive with a very sim­ilar flavor to dairy cheese, than this is not it. It is like cheese in so far as it is fer­mented and still car­ries the same tangy-sourness that cheese does but with it’s own amazing flavor (boasting hints of miso). And it’s packed with all sorts of good, ben­e­fi­cial bac­teria and healthy, unsat­u­rated fats (unlike the sat­u­rated fat con­tained in diary cheese). Anyway, the recipe itself is quite simple, it only requires a little prep work (if you choose to make your own reju­velac) and a wee bit of patience. But such is the case with all fer­mented foods. Good things come to those who wait, even the most deli­cious things…

    Cashew Cheese

  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for 3 hours and drained (do not over soak)
  • 3/4 cup nutri­tional yeast
  • 1 1/3 cup reju­velac, divided*
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 3 tbsp medium brown miso
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp agar agar powder
  • (Makes 1 1/2 lbs)

Direc­tions:

*Prep: Make reju­velac. If fol­lowing my recipe, omit the dates and pep­per­mint leaves — I made reju­velac wine in this par­tic­ular recipe by adding in some “sugar” to fer­ment with the grains. Stick to just the wheat berries for plain reju­velac. Or you can sub­sti­tute with equal amounts of store-bought plain kom­bucha. I did this once in a pinch and it still turned out okay, though I prefer the reju­velac. Note: Reju­velac takes A WEEK to fer­ment, so plan this part in advance.

• In a high-speed blender or food processor, com­bine cashews, nutri­tional yeast, 1/3 cup reju­velac, oil, miso and salt. Process until smooth (mix­ture will be thick).

• Transfer mix­ture to a medium-sized, glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap or towel (a paper towel and large rub­ber­band to secure also work — I also jot the date and time onto the paper towel so I don’t forget when the fer­men­ta­tion started). Let rest at room tem­per­a­ture for 24–72 hours. Taste test occa­sion­ally until desired level of sharp­ness has been achieved. I typ­i­cally wait the whole 72 hours.

• In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of reju­velac and agar. Cover saucepan and slowly bring to a boil over medium heat for about 3 min­utes, until agar is com­pletely dis­solved and mix­ture is thick and lightly bub­bling. Stir con­tin­u­ously and be careful not to let the mix­ture burn. Reduce heat to low, add in the cheese mix­ture, and whisk until smooth. Remove from heat.

• In a medium/large bowl (this will also be your “mold” so chose a desired size/shape depending on how you want your final product to look) pour in the cheese mix­ture and let it cool at room tem­per­a­ture for about 30 min­utes. Transfer bowl to refrig­er­ator for 3 — 4 hours until hard­ened. Remove from bowl. Store in refrig­er­ator wrapped in parch­ment paper for up to 4 weeks.

Serve: We’ve enjoyed this so many ways but I love snacking on it with some seedy crackers, wrapped up in a sprouted-grain tor­tilla or veggie wrap, or served along­side some fresh fruit.

November 2nd, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Carrot Zuc­chini Bread

I am a crea­ture of habit. I don’t remember when I first came across this recipe but after trying it once and making some adjust­ments I decided my journey for the per­fect, healthy, sweet bread was over. I make it when­ever I’m craving some­thing whole­some but lightly sweet. It’s the per­fect fall bread (also spring, summer, and winter :)) and a great gift-giver. It’s also super nutri­tious, packed with fiber, and “sugar-free”. Best served warm in the com­pany of a 14-month-old and, if we’re feeling adven­turous, slathered with some coconut manna.

    Carrot Zuc­chini Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt (I use pink himalayan)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup home­made almond milk* (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup date sugar**
  • 1/4 cup virgin unre­fined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup mashed, ripe bananna
  • 3/4 cup finely shredded zuc­chini (smaller zuc­chini work best)
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup toasted wal­nuts or pecans, chopped
  • 2 table­spoons raw cacao nibs (or choco­late chips for sweeter bread)

*Recipe here. Or sub­sti­tute with a dairy/non-dairy milk of your choosing. In a pinch I just blend 1–2 tbsp of raw almonds in a blender with 1/2 cup water without straining — the almond meal only adds more tex­ture and bulk to the bread.

**Recipe here. Or simply toss 1/2 cup packed dates in with the almond milk until well-blended. Reg­ular sugar also works. The home­made date sugar is nice to have on hand and adds some toasty/caramelized notes to the bread.


Direc­tions:

» [Prep: Make almond milk (adding in dates if replacing for the date/regular sugar) and/or make date sugar. Must be started the day before, oth­er­wise note my “short­cuts”. See recipe links above.]

» Pre­heat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom of an 8×4-inch loaf pan with coconut oil. In a large bowl, com­bine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cin­namon and ginger; mix well. Set aside.

» Stir together the almond milk and vinegar; let stand 2 min­utes until thick­ened. In medium bowl, mix the almond milk mix­ture, date sugar (if using), melted coconut oil, banana, zuc­chini, carrot, and vanilla until well-blended. Add to flour mix­ture, stir­ring until just com­bined. Stir in nuts and cacao nibs/choc chips. Spread batter evenly in pan.

» Bake for 50–60 min­utes or until nicely browned and tooth­pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 min­utes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Makes 1 loaf. Recipe adapted from Vegan Zuc­chini Bread at Eating Clean Recipes.


My little. Stuffing her sweet face and sharing her ration with me.

P.S. Go here to see my adven­tures of last week… and some fairly incrim­i­nating photos.

October 30th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Creamy Cucumber Soup

Excuse my absence. Family visit. Anniver­sary. Road trip. Birthday. Work. And a wed­ding. And now to regain my bear­ings and get back into some sem­blance of a rou­tine. Mostly a good house cleaning, a bit of gar­dening, and other such busy­ments. I’m also real­izing my home needs some serious child-proofing. And then to join the band­wagon of all-things-fall. Of course there will be food. And prob­ably some wine.

Not so much a fall dish, per se, but cer­tainly worth sharing (after much pro­cras­ti­na­tion). I’ve made it a couple times now before finally deciding to pull the pic­tures off my neglected camera. My friend Kelly shared this recipe with me a while back and it’s quickly become one of my favorite raw chilled soups. My CSA basket has been teeming with pick­ling cucum­bers and fresh romaine the past couple of months. Who knew they’d be so per­fectly suited to life as a soup? And mar­ried to some garden herbs, what more could a girl ask for?

    Creamy Cucumber Soup // RAW, Chilled

  • Yield: 2 cups, 2 servings
  • 4 romaine let­tuce leaves, rinsed, plus smaller ones for garnish
  • 2–3 small pick­ling cucum­bers, chopped (~ 1 cup)*
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 table­spoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp fresh herbs (dill, mint, tar­ragon, or cilantro, or 1 tsp dried)
  • cashew cream (optional)

Direc­tions:

• Process all ingre­di­ents except the avo­cado, olive oil, and herbs until smooth.  Add the remaining ingre­di­ents (avo­cado, oil and herbs — I used dill. I’ve also made it with mint. Both are heav­enly.) and blend until creamy. Chill for 30 min­utes before serving. (* Note: you can also sub 1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped for the smaller ones.)

• Gar­nish: fresh/dried herbs, baby romaine leaves, and cashew cream (optional, pre­pared in advance, recipe fol­lowing).  

Adapted from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people by Jen­nifer Cornbleet.

    Cashew cream

  • 1 cup whole, raw cashews
  • water

Direc­tions:

• Rinse cashews and place in a bowl. Cover with pure water and refrig­erate overnight (or at least 4–6 hours). Or quick soak - lightly boil the cashews in water for 10 min­utes, dis­card the soak water, and then repeat again for another 10 minutes.

• Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water.

• Place the cashews in a blender or food processor with enough fresh cold water to cover and blend on high for sev­eral min­utes until very smooth. Add addi­tional water to obtain desired con­sis­tency. I like mine a little thicker than creamer. (Sorry, I didn’t mea­sure.)

October 10th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Saint Therese of Lisieux

You make me think of a little child that is learning to stand but does not yet know how to walk. In his desire to reach the top of the stairs to find his mother, he lifts his little foot to climb the first step. It is all in vain, and at each renewed effort he falls. Well, be like that little child. Always keep lifting your foot to climb the ladder of holi­ness, and do not imagine that you can mount even the first step. All God asks of you is good will. From the top of the ladder He looks lov­ingly upon you, and soon, touched by your fruit­less efforts, He will Him­self come down, and, taking you in His arms, will carry you to His Kingdom never again to leave Him. But should you cease to raise your foot, you will be left for long on the earth.”

–the words of St. Therese to one of her fellow novices
The Auto­bi­og­raphy of Saint Therese of Lisieux: The Story of a Soul


 I was moved to tears reading these words today. I’ve been making my way through The Story of a Soul these past couple of weeks. (If you haven’t yet read about this amazing woman of God, I highly rec­om­mend you do.) I had just sat down today to read a bit after I assisted Claire (‘learning to stand but still unable to walk’) back to her pile of books fol­lowing a quick dart for the steps and an arduous but failing attempt to sur­mount them. God is so good. I love how He makes things so obvious for me some­times. He teaches me so much through my daughter.

Dearest Saint Therese, may we always desire your sub­lime humility, your unyielding trust, and your hunger for littleness.

September 21st, 2012
Sorted in Journal

Scenic World

It’s been a Beirut day. This band will always have a spe­cial place in my heart. Patrick and I flew to Chicago for a couple days during col­lege to see them per­form during their first tour (6 years ago… gosh). Much of Zach Condon’s (originator/ singer/ musician/ high school dropout) first album was self-recorded in his bed­room prior to the band coming together. The con­cert itself was awe­some. Just the nature of the many unique instru­ments made it so much better Live.

Thought I’d share one of my favorites from his first album; largely inspired by Balkan folk music.

Scenic World by Beirut (Gulag Orkestar), Live version.

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September 14th, 2012
Sorted in Music

Mas­saged Kale Salad

I can’t quite remember where I first tried one of these. I just recall being quite addicted to raw salads during my preg­nancy (I sup­pose my body was needing/loving all the extra nutri­ents!). This par­tic­ular salad is one of my favorites and is so easy to make. The kale and avo­cado dressing are pretty stan­dard but I gen­er­ally throw in what­ever else I have on hand, the fol­lowing veg­gies being some favorites. You can also use any variety of kale but I think I prefer the curly, as it hugs the avo­cado dressing so nicely (although I ran short and used half lacinato kale for this one). Bon Appétit!

    Mas­saged Kale Salad

  • 1 bunch kale (~12–15 large leaves, washed and ribs removed)
  • 1 ripe avo­cado (cut in half and deseeded)
  • 1 lemon (juiced, ~ 2 tbsp)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry toma­toes (chopped and slightly deseeded/squeezed)
  • 1 medium-sized cucumber (~ 1 cup, deseeded and chopped)
  • 1 medium-sized, sweet red/orange/yellow pepper (~ 1 cup, chopped)
  • 1 head of broc­coli (~ 1½ cups, chopped)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp sun­flower seeds

Direc­tions:

• Wash, trim, and remove the ribs from the kale. Place the kale in a large serving bowl.
• Chop the avo­cado and/or mash it slightly in your hands before adding it to the bowl (impor­tant to have a soft, ripe avo­cado). Then add all remaining ingre­di­ents.
• Mix the ingre­di­ents together and “mas­sage” with your hands for a few min­utes until the kale is slightly wilted. I love it when the dressing is nicely dis­persed and sat­u­rates all the veg­gies, par­tic­u­larly the little broc­coli heads. Yum.
• Serve (yields 4+ serv­ings).
• Refrig­erate any remaining salad (obvi­ously). Best if con­sumed within a few days.


September 5th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Raw Brownie Balls

I almost feel like I’m com­mit­ting an injus­tice calling these brownies, as if that dimin­ishes their truly healthful qual­i­ties (super rich in pro­tein, antiox­i­dants, good fats, vit­a­mins, min­erals, and fiber). Although super awe­some energy balls doesn’t really cap­ture their better-than-brownie flavor and tex­ture. They’re almost too good to be true. I’m quite cer­tain you’ll agree.

    Raw Brownie Balls

  • 1½ cups raw walnuts/pecans
  • 10 pitted med­jool dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweet­ened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground vanilla bean (or ½ tsp vanilla extract)
  • splash of water (for a moister brownie, optional)
  • dash of salt

Direc­tions:

Chop ¼ of the nuts and set aside. Place remaining nuts and salt in the con­tainer of a food processor and process until finely ground. Add dates and process until sticky (helpful to add one at a time through processor chute while machine run­ning, but not nec­es­sary). Add the cocoa powder and ground vanilla bean/extract and process until evenly dis­trib­uted. Add a couple splashes of water, if desired, and process again briefly (for a moister brownie). Per­form a taste test — if you prefer it sweeter add a few more dates or a sweet­ener of your choice.

Transfer the mix­ture to a mixing bowl. Add remaining chopped nuts and mix together with your hands. Form brownie dough into small balls (yield ~10). Allow to chill in fridge or freezer briefly prior to con­sump­tion. Store in sealed con­tainer for up to one week in refrig­er­ator or one month in freezer.


Other addi­tive ideas: ¼ cup shredded coconut, ¼ cup chopped dried fruit (cherries/figs/etc.), 2 tbsp cocoa nibs or choco­late chips, 1–2 tbsp seeds (flax, chia, sesame, sun­flower, pumpkin, etc.), a few dashes of cin­namon… be cre­ative.

To make them pretty: Add a couple tbsp of shredded coconut OR ground coffee/espresso beans OR ground nuts OR seeds to a shallow dish and roll balls until evenly coated (Kelly ideas) OR dust over the top with a few shakes of sifted cocoa.

Adapted from Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 people by Jen­nifer Corn­bleet (via Kelly Keltner).

September 2nd, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Home­made Coconut Milk

In case I haven’t made it clear before, I am a huge fan of coconut. A couple weeks back, I was at work when I over­heard a fellow nurse’s dis­ser­ta­tion on extracting coconut milk from coconuts via hammer/large knife and mas­ti­cating juicer. Although she had me at “coconut,” I was intrigued to meet someone who seemed as pleas­antly crazy and pas­sionate about this stuff as I am. After con­versing for some time on the matter of health and food, par­tic­u­larly our common interest in raw foods, I’d somehow con­vinced her to bring her magic juicer over yes­terday for a coconut milk affair. The process was a bit labor-intensive but the results were simply divine…

Thick, creamy, sweet coconut milk, a soft, fra­grant mound of dry coconut shreds, and a cup of equally deli­cious and refreshing coconut water.


Open coconut (older coconuts work best). We used the knife (if you are strong, no, and expe­ri­enced, no) method. Exer­cise cau­tion. Drink of the energy-giving coconut water (you’re going to need it) and pro­ceed to scooping out the meat. Kelly had one of these (thank you Kelly), oth­er­wise a knife and/or spoon should work.


♥ Remove inner husk from coconut meat using a knife/peeler. Appar­ently this is easier if you use a quick heat or freeze method. (Unbe­knownst to us at the time.)


♥ Admire your meat.


♥ Feed through juicer according to manufacturer’s direc­tions. It may need to be chopped into smaller/thinner pieces. (If you don’t have a juicer, get one. A worthy invest­ment.) And voilà… Milk and shreds.


    Coconut milk uses:

  • ice cream
  • addi­tive to soups, cur­ries, and dishes of all kinds
  • raw desserts
  • smoothies
  • tea/coffee creamer
  • etc.

    Coconut water uses:

  • super-hydrating bev­erage
  • smoothies
  • ice cubes
  • etc. etc.

    Shredded coconut uses:

  • raw bars
  • sweet and savory dishes
  • break­fasts
  • desserts
  • etc. etc. etc.

One final note: I have almost con­vinced Kelly to start her own blog. It would be a good thing for all of us if she did. She has an innate gift for cooking and makes the most heav­enly raw deserts. I will throw up some of her recipes soon!

August 30th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

Felted Bean Sprout

In case you were won­dering how to make a felted bean sprout decor/paperweight/pin cushion/etc., then you’ve come to the right place. As you might recall, I am Aunt to two very spe­cial “bean sprouts.” This project was the result of my efforts to make them some­thing appro­priate and totally use­less. Unless of course they become as crafty of seam­stresses as their mother. Chances are high. Then of course I will buy my little nieces a fine col­lec­tion of the best sewing pins. I can assure you my sister will approve of my safe, moth­erly judgement.

Continue reading →

August 26th, 2012
Sorted in DIY

Nice weather for ducks

It would appear this mon­soon we’ve found our­selves in is going nowhere, and quick. Even so, I sur­vived Zumba class, my hands reek of raw brownie batter, and I’ve man­aged to relent the most relent­less of stains from my husband’s absolute-most-favorite shirt of all time. The day has not been lost. But, in case it’s rainy where you are, a little song to cheer you up.

Nice Weather For Ducks by Lemon Jelly (free down­load here)

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August 21st, 2012
Sorted in Music

I am One

August 17th, 2012
Sorted in Photographs

Veggie Enchi­ladas Rojas

Spent a good hour this morning out on our back poor-excuse-for-a-patio with a hose and scrub brush restoring this fab­u­lous, Craigslist bicycle trailer find to its former days of glory. Tall grass. Bugs. Lizards. Sun. Hot. Very hot. Always good to know when my efforts are appre­ci­ated. Happy early birthday present Claire. Glad you like it.

Thank­fully, her father is much easier to please. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Yes indeed. I’m con­vinced both Patrick and I have a good ounce of Mex­ican in our blood some­where. Prob­ably why I made it through preg­nancy on a couple bot­tles of home­made habanero sauce with no com­pli­ca­tions. (Claire was not so lucky. Plenty of spice in that child for sure. I’m almost cer­tain my stomach drained right into my uterus.) Anyway, saw this recipe a couple weeks ago and was flooded with the nos­talgic feel­ings of yes­ter­year. Used to make Patrick enchi­ladas all the time with my patented tor­tilla press (two dinner plates and plastic wrap + heavy foot). Tasty but time-consuming. I skipped out on the tor­tilla stomping for this venue and subbed in some frozen corn tor­tillas and a quick batch of home­made enchi­lada sauce. Deli­cioso and muy muy bueno.

    Veggie Enchi­ladas Rojas

  • 1+ pack of corn tor­tillas (I used sprouted corn)
  • 2 cups black beans, rinsed/soaked/drained, or sub 1 can
  • 2 cups corn, cooked (I used frozen)
  • 2 tomatos (~1 cup), diced
  • 1 cup sweet potato, cooked/diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 can mild green chiles, chopped
  • 1 cup red enchi­lada sauce (canned or homemade)
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched kale
  • Cashew Cheese (or reg­ular, if you must be difficult)

Other options: sautéed mush­rooms, blanched/sautéed spinach, chopped jalapeño pep­pers, black olives, sautéed zuc­chini and/or squash, etc.

    Cashew Cheese

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked/drained/rinsed (or quick-soak method)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp nutri­tional yeast
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • a few dashes pepper
  • a few dashes chipotle powder and/or cayenne pepper (optional — for heat)
  • 1/2 — 1 cup water (use only as much as you need to create desired consistency)

Direc­tions:

•Cashew Cheese: Pre­soak cashews in salted water overnight or for at least 6 hours, until tender. Or quick soak (20 mins). Drain and rinse cashews. Com­bine cashews, vinegar, sea­son­ings, and a splash of water in the con­tainer of a food processor. Add table­spoons more of water as needed to get mix­ture moving and obtain desired con­sis­tency (thick, creamy, hummus-like con­sis­tency). Add any more sea­soning to taste. Chill in fridge.

•Pre­pare enchi­lada sauce if making home­made. Favorite recipe here.

•Kale: Pull kale leaves from thick stems and rinse well. Blanch kale in pot of hot, almost boiling water (or sauté in greased pan over medium heat 1–2 mins until wilts). Remove plunged kale and sub­merge into ice cold water. Spin or pat dry.

•Pre­heat oven to 375°. Obtain large, rec­tan­gular baking dish (3L). Spread thin layer of enchi­lada sauce on bottom of dish. Begin filling enchi­ladas. (Nice to have an extra pair of hands to help hold them upright when stacking them side-by-side.) Start by spooning a couple dol­lops of cashew cheese into each enchi­lada. (Reserve some cheese for adding over top.) Fill with remaining ingre­di­ents. Be mindful of rationing the fill­ings as you move along so each enchi­lada gets enough. Once the baking dish is filled, pour the remaining enchi­lada sauce over top. Top with addi­tional cheese, if desired.

•Bake uncov­ered at 375° for 25–30 min­utes. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Serve: top with chopped avo­cado and lots of fresh cilantro. Makes roughly 16 enchiladas.

Adapted from this recipe by Kathy.

P.S. Please go say hi to Grace. She makes me laugh everyday. If Camp Patton was a real place, I would take my whole family there.

August 7th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

MBM» Claire in the Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2

Dr. Seuss’s Cat in the Hat (Claire), Thing 1 (Seraphia), and Thing 2 (Cecilia).

Happy (Make­Be­lieve) Monday! Thought I’d throw up a quick pic­ture that Sheena and I snapped of Claire and the twins last week. We had such a fun week with them! It went by too ter­ribly fast. I simply adore these babies!

(Sheena deserves sole credit for this one, she came up with the idea while the babes were still in utero.)

July 30th, 2012

Baked Falafels

I finally fin­ished my coriander har­vest for the season. Not a large yield but enough to get me by for a while. I’m a huge fan of the stuff. I tend to use it a lot in soups, chili, cur­ries, and salsa (just to name a few) but nothing wears it quite as well as the falafel, in my opinion. I’ve had a thing for falafels lately. They’ve always been a pop­ular lunch item in this house. I was feeling a little adven­turous a few weeks back though and decided to give my falafel recipe a revamp. It’s a bit heavy on the spices but I love the way it turned out. And I almost always opt for baked vs. fried to keep them deli­cious and healthy. I’ve made this recipe a few times now and they are quite a crowd-pleaser. I like to think of them as Mediter­ranean meets Indian meets my garden and spice cab­inet. Hope you enjoy.


    Baked (Mediter­rIndian) Falafels

  • 4 cups gar­banzo beans/chickpeas (cooked) or 2 cans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3–4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped*
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped*
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped*
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp coriander♥
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried rose­mary, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 — 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • water as needed for mixing

•Pre­heat oven to 375º.

•Com­bine all ingre­di­ents (minus the flour and baking powder) in a food processor. (If your food processor is not large enough to acco­mo­date all ingre­di­ents, then reserve half of the gar­banzo beans to blend sep­a­rately.) Process until well-incorporated but still a little chunky, adding table­spoons of water as needed to get the mix­ture moving.

•Transfer blended mix­ture to a large bowl. Add in the flour and baking power. Com­bine well. (The mix­ture should be roughly the con­sis­tency of cookie dough.)

•Form into flat­tened pat­ties (makes 12) or rounded balls (makes 24).

•Bake on a greased cookie sheet or atop parch­ment paper for 15 min­utes on each side.

Serve with sprouted tor­tilla wraps/ pita pockets, toma­toes, cucumber, let­tuce, rainbow slaw, and tahini sauce (see recipe below).

*Okay to sub­sti­tute dried herbs for fresh using 1/3 the amount.


    Sweet Tahini Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sesame tahini
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup or so warm water (to thin out sauce)

•Com­bine all in food processor to desired con­sis­tency. Drizzle atop falafels or any­thing edible. Makes a gen­erous amount. Half if desired.

July 19th, 2012
Sorted in Kitchen

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