• 28Feb

    Even chefs can get into a routine. Though I constantly search for new dishes for my personal chef clients sometimes I get to making the same things at home. Lentils are a favorite staple in our house. I usually make soup but had a request from one of my clients for a lentil salad. She even bought the lentils (little black ‘beluga’ lentils) complete with recipe on the back of the package. It’s got yogurt in it so it’s not dairy-free but tasty nonetheless so here is the recipe with a few adjustments:

    Curried Lentil Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Apples

    3/4 c lentils (you can use any kind: beluga, french green, brown…)

    1/2 c yogurt (my favorites: Strauss or Pavel’s – go for the whole full fat!)

    2 Tb lemon juice (apple cider vinegar would make a good sub)

    2 stalks green onion, thinly sliced

    1 medium apple, diced with skin (any variety)

    3/4 c walnuts, toasted and chopped

    1/2 c raisins (any type: thompson, currants, golden…)

    1 tsp curry powder

    sea salt and pepper to taste

    If you can, soak lentils overnight to aid in digestion and shorten the cooking time. Cook the lentils until just tender in any type of broth or water. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes depending on the type. Drain and cool. Mix in the remaining ingredients. Adjust seasonings and you are Done!

    This salad would also be great with diced celery, diced jicama and/or grated carrot. Maybe crispy Asian or Bosc pear in place of the apple? Vary the nuts, mmm pine nuts or …sub cranberries for the raisins …be creative, use what you have on hand. I’ll be serving it up with one variation or another (with yogurt on the side for those that are dairy free.)

  • 25Feb

    Wednesday’s New York Times featured an article by Mark Bittman on easy puddings. Since I was having a dinner party Friday night and wanted a simple dessert I thought I would try out the chocolate pudding recipe – only without the milk.

    In place of the milk I used a 50/50 blend of homemade nut milk and coconut milk. Since coconut milk has a natural sweetness I halved the sugar. I toyed with subbing the sugar with something more healthy but figured this was dessert so I splurged. As my Mom says, “It’s just a little bit…only once a year!” I only had semi sweet chocolate on hand so that’s what I used – next time I would use a really dark chocolate.

    The dinner guests loved it. Here’s the recipe:

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Chocolate Pudding – No Dairy

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories :

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    2 1/2 cups nut milk — or coconut milk or combination
    1/3 cup sugar — more or less to taste – you can sub sucanat, rapadura or stevia
    3 tablespoons cornstarch — organic (add another Tb if you like a thick pudding) – other thickeners may also work but may take some experimenting
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 ounces dark chocolate — chopped into small pieces

    Whisk together first 4 ingredients in a 3 quart sauce pan. Put over medium heat and continue to whisk until thick and bubbling.

    Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and chocolate. Divide into 6 small cups.

    Cover tops with a small piece of parchment to avoid having a skin form. Skip this step if you like the skin. Refrigerate.

    Serve chilled.

    “Based on recipe in the NYT by Mark Bittman Feb 21, 2007”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Permalink Filed under: General, Recipe development, Recipes Comments Off on Easy Pudding
  • 24Feb

    so versatile the garbanzo aka chick pea aka cicci aka channa. It comes in so many forms and participates in so many cuisines.

    A new Indian restaurant opened up a few blocks away – Flavors of India. We’ve been there four times now and give it a double thumbs up! The service is great – warm and friendly. The food is so flavorful and delicately spiced, not overly greasy. The naan breads are soft with a nice chewiness to them. I am so happy!

    One of my favorite appetizers is the Pakora – chunks of vegetables coated in a spicy batter made from garbanzo flour, then deep fried. They serve this with a trio of mint chutney, fiery pickled ‘something’ and my all time favorite tamarind chutney. It is always difficult to decide between the Pakoras or the Samosas.

    As you may recall I love Socca’s which are also made of garbanzo flour. I’d been meaning to try out the Indian version of the garbanzo (gram or besan) flour pancake called Pudla or Chilla. So when I was trying to decide a menu for a dinner party last night I decided to make a variation of the Pudla. I had in mind the pakora and Korean vegetable pancakes (Buchim). I also wanted to serve these with a tamarind chutney. So basically a pudla with lots of veggies in the batter.

    Here is a pic of one of the pancakes frying:

    and a fuzzy one of the pancake flipped over:

    Here is the recipe for the Pudla along with a recipe for the Tamarind Chutney:

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Indian Chickpea Pancake with Vegetables – Pudla or Chilla

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 6 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories :

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    2 cups garbanzo (aka gram or besan) flour
    1 3/4 cups water
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 teaspoon cumin seed — toasted and ground
    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    1/4 teaspoon ground chili pepper — more if you like it spicy
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper
    2 small zucchini — cut in halve lengthwise and thinly sliced
    1/2 small red pepper — cut into thin 1 1/2-2″ strips
    1/2 medium red onion — thinly julienned
    1 medium jalapeno pepper — finely diced
    3 tablespoons cilanto — chopped
    vegetable oil

    Mix first nine ingredients (up to the black pepper) in a 3 quart mixing bowl – whisk into a smooth batter. Batter should be the consistency of a thin pancake batter while a tad thicker than a crepe batter.

    Fold in remaining ingredients.

    Heat a 10″ cast iron pan – or other nonstick pan with 1-2 T of vegetable (I like grape seed) oil. Use about 4-5 fl. oz for each pancake. Fry each side until golden brown. Remove to a rack on a sheet pan while you cook the remaining pancakes. These can be made ahead and heated in a 350 oven for 10 minutes.

    Serve hot with tamarind and/or mint chutney.

    I know I wasn’t being very seasonal with my choice of veggies. I like the red onion and red pepper but any other vegetable would be great – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, carrots, mushrooms…

    Here is the chutney recipe which is based on a google recipe search along with a recipe from this site

    Tamarind Chutney

    Amount* Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    3/4 cup water
    2 tablespoons tamarind concentrate — Note this is the Indian type of concentrated tamarind – it’s very thick and dark like molasses.
    6 tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
    2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    1 teaspoon cumin seed — roasted and ground
    1 teaspoon ginger root — grated
    1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper
    1/2 teaspoon black salt — Indian black salt which is actually pink – smells like sulfur (or rotten eggs!)
    1/2 teaspoon garam masala
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt

    *The quantities of the ingredients can be varied depending on how spicy or sweet or sour you like your chutney.

    Put all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and serve at room temperature. Can be stored in the refrigerator for a few months.


  • 23Feb

    Talk about the power of suggestion… I was over at my fiddle teacher’s house the other day for band practice and she had a package of Thomas English Muffins on her counter…at least I think it was at her house I saw them. In any case, those crispy nooks and crannies set me on to the path of “must make english muffin.” So here they are…

    I started with a recipe from this blog. They were a lot easier to make than I thought. Nice because you don’t have to use the oven – these are cooked entirely on the stove with a cooking time of less than 15 minutes.

    To my taste they were a bit too sweet and not salty enough so the following recipe has those adjustments. I also wanted to add some fiber so used whole wheat for part of the dough. I think these would also make nice burger buns which has been my latest craving…reminder to defrost some of that grass fed ground beef sitting in the deep dark corner of the freezer.

    Next time I may try out a cinnamon raisin version. When I was a kid, I loved to toast up cinnamon raisin english muffins with a slice of Kraft American ‘cheese’ on top…those were the days of ignorant bliss…

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    English Muffins – Sourdough

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 8 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories :

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1/2 cup sourdough starter
    1 cup flour
    1/2 cup water
    1/2 cup whole wheat flour — more as needed
    2 teaspoons sugar
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Combine starter with 1 cup of flour and 1/2 cup of water. Stir thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap and let sit overnight on your kitchen counter (about 7-10 hours).

    Add the baking soda, salt, sugar to the dough and gradually add the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour, 2 tablespoons at a time. Dough should be sticky but workable. You can use more or less flour as needed. The looser the dough the more holey the muffin.

    Turn dough out onto a generously floured surface and pat out to about ½ inch thick. Use a lightly floured 3″ biscuit cutter to cut the dough. You can press together the scraps to make more rounds

    Place rounds on a baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Leave enough space between each round so they don’t spread and stick together. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cornmeal and leave them to rise, loosely covered with plastic wrap or a clean dishtowel, until doubled in size. Any where between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours depending on the temperature of your kitchen.

    Heat a cast iron skillet (or other type of non-stick pan) over medium heat until hot.

    Cook the muffins for about 5-7 minutes on each side, turning only once. The muffins should be a medium brown so adjust heat as needed.

    Transfer to a rack to cool.


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  • 24Nov

    Batch #8 is in the oven.

    I never said I wasn’t a bit OC…But, you see, each time I make the dough I improve upon the method. These improvements are more to suit my needs (less mess) and tastes (taller loaves) not necessarily to meet the criteria of the “perfect” loaf of bread so there are compromises. Besides what is a ‘perfect’ loaf and in whose eyes? In part, that’s what good food is – what do you like rather than what the ‘experts’ say you should like. Food is so personal.

    First some details of this batch’s recipe…I only used sour dough starter – no commercial yeast, 50% King Arthur bread flour, 50% mix of Guisto’s medium whole wheat and pumpernickel/rye meal, 2 teaspoons sea salt. (Note, these tips would work just as well with the original ¼ teaspoon of yeast.) This time, I am making two smaller loaves instead of one from the original recipe – one to give away, one to keep.

    Ok, so here is what I have learned since loaf #1…

    I added less water than the original recipe so ended up with the stiffest dough so far – it’s still a very sticky dough, just not as “spreading.”

    I let the dough rise 20 hours in a bowl (didn’t want to get up at 5 am!) Then I ‘punched’ down the dough with a plastic spatula (dough doesn’t stick to the plastic and no dirty hands.) I let the dough rest 15 minutes in the bowl. While the dough was resting, I cut a square of parchment paper and placed on 2 aluminum pie tins – the parchment just goes to the outside edge – so an approx. 8-9″ square of parchment. I sprinkled the parchment with a light layer of semolina flour – you can use regular flour or cornmeal. I am using the pie tin to control the spread of the dough hoping to give the final bread more height – since this dough wasn’t as spreading, it might have been fine to let the final rise happen on the counter.

    In any case, after the 15-minute rest, I cut the dough in half with the spatula and using well-floured hands took the dough out of the bowl. Then I shaped the dough into a round ball by tucking the sides underneath itself until the top was smooth – pinching the bottom well to make the bottom as smooth as possible too. Since this dough was stiffer, it was much easier to handle – if the dough was ‘wetter’ it would have been harder but not impossible to shape. Lastly, I placed the ball of dough on the semolina flour dusted parchment, which was sitting in the pie tin. Then I sprinkled some flour on top and used my hand to spread it evenly. I did this so the cover wouldn’t stick to the dough while it was rising – the cover being a piece of plastic wrap lightly laid on top. Plus I like the dusty look the flour gives the final baked loaf. Hey look! No messy floury counter top to scrape up!

    Baking. I used a 2 1/2 qt All Clad stainless steel sauce pan and a 1 1/2 qt Pyrex clear glass casserole in a 450F oven (other people who bake at higher temps report burnt bottoms.) Another trick -I heat the oven up to 475 or 500, then turn it back down to 450. This compensates for the lost heat when I open the door and fuss with getting the dough into the pots, etc. Rack is 2nd from the bottom.

    Right before putting the bread into the pot I used a new greased single edged razor to slash the top. The cut should be as horizontal as possible – in other words, don’t cut down, just cut across the top as if you were cutting a flap.

    Now the fun part – transferring the bread dough to the pot. This was always the hardest part for me. The dough has been so gooey and sticky – trying to put it into a blistering hot pot without burning myself was just too much of an adrenaline rush (doc says to conserve that coritsol.) Plus the trauma to the dough of dumping it into the pot deflated the loaf so much I was getting flat loaves. Solution? I just pick up the parchment from the opposite corners (dough still on the parchment) and place the whole thing in pot – paper and all. Woohoo! The pie tins are clean so go right back into the cupboard. No mess, no fuss – and saved some cortisol.

    At the 30-minute point I took off the lids…oven spring was fantastic! The prettiest loaves so far. Now I bake for another 20-30 minutes to get the nice brown crust.

    These will be the last loaves for a while! P is happy though has been highly amused with my latest obsession especially when I walk around the house with flour dusted slippers.

    Alrighty, when I decide to do a full size loaf, I plan to use a slightly larger ‘form’ using my 10″ saute pan instead of the pie tins to control the spread during the final rise. I’ll bake in my 6 qt All Clad stainless steel pot which is 4+” deep by 10″ in diameter. Hopefully it will stay round and have a nice spring. In case you are wondering why I am using such a hodge podge of equipment – I’m improvising with what I have on hand rather than spending bucks at WS or SLT or worse yet cluttering up the kitchen with more stuff.

    So I guess I ended up with a hybrid of traditional bread making and the no-knead method.

    With previous batches, I had already made the bread a tad healthier by adding whole grain flour. To add further to it’s healthfulness, I am using a sour dough for leavening – this converts much of the sugars – enough to put this bread into the complex carbohydrate category rather than the refined carbohydrate category. Plus the great advantage to a long fermentation is that it makes the bread easier to digest. My goals with batch #8 were less mess and taller loaves while still taking little time out of my day. Success? With this last loaf, I only dirtied the spoon to mix the initial dough, the bowl and the spatula. The baking pots only needed a quick dust off. Hardly any flour anywhere!

    Just out of the oven the bread looks great.

    I did note that the crust from the loaf baked in the glass is crunchier than the one baked in the stainless steel pot…hmm, might be adding something to my xmas wish list… I will cut into them in a hour or so.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge all the folks who posted tips and hints at Chowhound, eGullet and their own blogs. I sifted through lots of stuff in addition to browsing through a few books – The Cheese Board Collective Works and Bread Alone. Plus making a little bread here and there for the last 20+ years helped. Any how, thanks to all the bread bakers out there.

    With that, I see yummy turkey sammies on fresh bread for lunch today!

  • 22Nov

    Oh, yes I am still enamored with Jim Lahey’s no-knead bread. I’m on loaf number 6! Lucky for me I have friends and neighbors who love bread too – otherwise I would be out shopping for new clothes rather than writing this post.

    I do love bread but am not so crazy about eating so much refined wheat flour plus grains can be hard to digest and in fact be anti-nutritive. The recipe I have been using so far is 1/3 whole grain – I do plan to try and up this to 50/50 on the next batch. If one examines native cultures – nearly all soaked or fermented grains before eating. Why would the native peoples go to all the trouble? If I asked my mother or grandmother why we soaked our rice before cooking it they would just smack the back of my head and say “Because that’s what you do, why are you asking so many questions?!”

    We now understand that soaking and fermenting grains makes the grains more easy to digest and the nutrients more bioavailable. Further, grains have a compound called phytic acid, which bind to minerals while in our gut that are essential to our health – like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron and copper. The long 18 hour fermentation of the no-knead dough certainly breaks down much of the starch (that’s what yeast like to grow on) along with some of the difficult to digest gluten. In addition, the fermentation process may deactivate the phytic acid but I wasn’t sure fermenting with a commercial baker’s yeast was enough to do the job.

    How can we convert our crusty loaf, a refined carb, into a sour dough complex carb? By using an old fashion wild sour dough starter like our ancestors did. Wild starters like these not only have yeast but enzymes and lactic acid bacteria so you get a more complete fermentation. Besides, this was an excuse to revive some critters that have been lost on my desk in suspended animation for a better part of a year. Months and months ago, I sent away for a bit of Carl Griffith’s 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter. It came in a little sandwich bag and looked like some dried dough scraped up from the back of a covered wagon. No actually it looked quite benign. Sunday morning, I looked up the instructions to turn the old dust into a live sourdough starter by mixing it with flour and water. I was a little worried it wouldn’t be viable any longer as I had the starter for months sandwiched between piles on my desk – it was a miracle I even found it to begin with! Well to make a long story short – those tenacious little buggers sprang to life. On Monday I took a sniff and the cup of ‘sour dough batter’ smelled like a floury yogurt. Eureka! The Oregon Trail lives on in Oakland California! Yee Haw!

    Today’s loaf came out tasting like a mighty fine sour dough – not quite like my favorite from Bay Breads but in the same ball park. Closer than I have ever gotten trying to make my own starter or even from starters I had used from some restaurants I had worked.

    Here’s the recipe:
    Mix together in a 3-4 quart bowl:

    2 c King Arthur bread flour
    1 ½ c Guisto’s medium whole wheat flour
    2 teaspoons Redmond sea salt


    1 c Carl Griffith’s 1847 Oregon Trail Sourdough Starter
    1 c + a tablespoon or so of water – enough to make a sticky dough

    Follow the rest of the instructions from this post “The Staff of Life”

    Loaf number seven will come out of the oven tomorrow in time for the Thanksgiving table…and maybe for some turkey panini on Friday!

    Next I will try upping the percentage of whole grain and work with spelt flour which tends to be an easier gluten grain to digest.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 27Oct

    It’s taken a bit of time but here it is – the recipe for the Dan Dan Noodle Salad I brought to the Food Blogger’s picnic back in August and that I made for my nutrition class summer gathering. I’d love to give more background on the ingredients but I am madly preparing for another nutrition talk. Rather than wait until I had time I figured I’d post the recipe and answer questions as they arose. Here is some info on the inspiration for the dish which came from last year’s trip to Chongqing, China.

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Dan Dan Noodle Salad – Chongqing Street Style

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    **Marinade for Meat or Tofu**
    2 teaspoons shaoxing wine or sherry
    1 teaspoon soy sauce
    1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
    2 teaspoons chinkiang vinegar — Chinese black vinegar
    2 teaspoons sesame oil
    1 1/2 teaspoons Xinjiang Spice Mix
    5 ounces ground pork — or chicken or turkey or crumbled extra firm tofu
    2 teaspoons oil
    2 tablespoons sesame oil
    2 each scallion — sliced
    1 1/2 teaspoons Xinjiang Spice Mix
    2 tablespoons cilantro — roughly chopped
    1/2 cup broth or shiitake mushroom soaking water or water
    1 tablespoon soy sauce
    1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
    1/4 cup Chinkiang vinegar or Chinese black vinegar
    2 teaspoons sucanat or brown sugar
    1/2 teaspoon sea salt
    2 tablespoons oil — divided
    1 ounce dried shiitake mushroom
    1/2 cup chopped pickled chinese vegetable (ya cai or mustard) — optional
    12 ounces yam noodles
    4 each scallion — sliced
    1/4 cup cilantro — roughly chopped
    1/2 cup peanuts — roasted, unsalted & roughly chopped

    Marinate meat or crumbled tofu for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Heat a 10″ saute pan with the 2 teaspoons of oil and brown meat or tofu. Set aside.

    Squeeze excess water from shiitake and roughly chop. If desired, save the mushroom soaking liquid for the sauce. Heat a 12″ saute pan with 2 tablespoon of oil. Saute shiitake until lightly brown. If using, add the pickled chinese vegetable. Saute for 2-4 more minutes.

    To make sauce. Warm sesame oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add scallion and Xinjiang spice mix. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add remaining sauce ingredients and bring up to a simmer. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

    Cook yam noodles. Boil 4 quarts of salted water. Add noodles and simmer for 6-8 minutes. Rinse in cold water and drain 2-3 times to remove any excess starch. Put noodles in a large mixing bowl. If you do not use right away (within 10-15 minutes – drizzle a little sesame oil on it to prevent from sticking together…and believe me – it will stick together and then some!)

    Putting together the salad. Add to the noodles in the bowl: sauteed meat or tofu, shiitake, preserved vegetable and sauce. Mix together. Season to taste. Serve in one large bowl family style or in individual bowls with the garnish of scallion, cilantro and peanuts scattered on top.

    Here is the recipe for the Xinjiang Spice Mix:

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1/4 cup cumin seeds
    2 tablespoons ground chili pepper — Sichuan chili if you can find it
    2 tablespoons black pepper
    1 tablespoon sichuan peppercorns
    1 tablespoon ginger — grnd
    1 tablespoon garlic — powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

    Toast sichuan peppercorns til fragrant. Toast cumin until lightly browned.

    Grind sichuan peppercorns, cumin, chili flakes and black pepper in a spice grinder

    Stir in remaining ingredients.


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  • 07Oct

    Mochi’s favorite snack these days. As soon as she hits the back door her figdar is on. She methodically sweeps the yard – first by the garage they back behind the tool shed. She gets her fill of fallen figs and sometimes brings one in the house to save for later. Two Falls ago we noticed her tooth was purple. Being the over protective Mom I panicked and thought she had damaged her tooth. I insisted on taking her to the vet. The doc did a thorough exam and found nothing. Short of taking an x-ray she was at a loss so we took her home and kept an eye on the tooth. Lo and behold, after a week or so the tooth returned to it’s normal white. Sheepishly, I had to admit to P that I over reacted to Mochi’s fig stained tooth – an expensive lesson.

    P and are making our annual trips with 12 foot ladder in tow to M and T’s yard to pick pounds and pounds of black mission figs. This year we’ve been enjoying them fresh in addition to gingery fig chutney (to accompany my Dosa addiction, where btw I ended up purchasing a griddle…shhh, don’t tell P) and a batch of fig gelato based on this recipe. Tomorrow’s bounty will probably get dried in our 8 tray food dehydrator and vacuum packed to enjoy through out the year.

    So the gelato? After making an adjustment to make it non dairy…I liked it. Though if I make it again I will cut back a bit on the sugar. Here is the recipe that I ended up using (based on an LA Times recipe):

    1/2 pound figs, stemmed and cut into quarters
    1/4 cup sugar, organic raw
    1 tablespoons raw honey (I love Marshall’s)
    1 tablespoon orange liqueur like Grand Marnier or Cointreau
    1 3/4 cups cashew nut milk (see recipe below)
    Pinch salt

    Put figs and sugar in a small pot and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Cook until figs are soft, about 5 minutes.

    Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ingredients. Chill in the refrigerator or in an ice bath, then freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

    Cashew Nut Milk

    1/2 c raw organic cashews soaked overnight
    2 cups filtered water

    Blend until very smooth. Strain if desired. I generally don’t strain my nut milks since the blender that I use makes everything so smooth.

    Here is the ice cream maker that I used. It doesn’t make the best ice cream in the world but it’s a pretty cool little toy which I picked it up for $10. For delicious ice cream in the SF Bay Area run over to 4th Street or College Ave.

  • 14Apr

    Here we are in the midst of Spring…finally (with fingers crossed)! Sprouts are sprouting, little heads of asparagus are shooting skyward, buds are opening their colorful faces to the sun and little birdies are singing their songs as they squeeze out their eggs…ouch!

    So what’s so horrible about that? Well, its not really. I just want to wallow for a moment…you see, I recently found out I have a food sensitivity to eggs (and milk and soy) 🙁 Ironic to find out now during the height of egg hunting season.

    I love eggs, not just poached and fried and scrambled for breakfast but they are in all manner of the foods I love…pancakes of all sorts, waffles, custards, frittatas, egg noodles, gnocchi, matzo balls, profiteroles, pastry cream, lemon curd, cakes, cookies…the magical egg – it can hold things together and make things puff…oh, boo hoo 🙁

    I did find out that egg allergies can sometimes be linked with pollen allergies. According to about.com egg allergies can flare up with the pollens from oak trees (hello oak…land) and some very specific weed pollens. Hmmm, there may be hope.

    You see, our bodies are so elegantly designed to ingest all kinds of foods, breathe in so much pollen, suck down so much dirty air, and withstand a goodly amount of stress. A little too much of some combination of these and our body begins to become a bit overwhelmed. The “total load” on our systems become too much and we begin to not tolerate a food or a fragrance or your boss telling you one more time to do xyz… The manifestations of these intolerances vary depending on the individual. You might experience dry patches of skin, a runny or stuffy nose, more frequent colds, asthma, digestive problems, achy joints, a foggy brain, fatigue, a short fuse…

    So, I’m gonna lighten the load by being careful to eat lots of fresh organic foods, drink plenty of clean water, avoid the foods I know I’m sensitive to, reduce stress (ha!), get enough sleep, review our stock of cleaning supplies for toxic substances with the help of debra’s list and of course not stress about the absence of some of my favorite foods. One day, maybe soon…I’ll be able to enjoy them all again.

    In the meantime I’m enjoying experimenting with different kinds of pancakes based on recipes for the batter of South Indian Idli’s and their various incarnations found on the incredible blog site Mahanandi and Korean mung bean pancakes (look for this recipe on a future post.)

    One experiment this weekend will be to make the traditional Easter Bunny Carrot Cake without eggs. This version will also be gluten free (no wheat flour) as well. I’ll post the resulting recipe when I can get into the kitchen (all the windows in the house are being replaced as I type…bbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!) In any case, here is the original family favorite carrot cake recipe complete with yummy eggs and wheat flour…

    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Carrot Cake or Muffins

    Recipe By :
    Serving Size : 18 Preparation Time :0:00
    Categories : Dessert

    Amount Measure Ingredient — Preparation Method
    ——– ———— ——————————–
    1 3/4 Cups Brown sugar
    4 each large egg
    1 Teaspoon Vanilla
    2 Cups Flour
    1 Teaspoon Baking soda
    1 Teaspoon Salt
    2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
    1 1/4 Cups Oil
    12 ounces crushed pineapple — drained
    2 Cups Carrots — shredded
    1 Cup Walnuts, optional — chopped

    In large bowl, beat eggs and sugar on medium until well mixed. Add vanilla. Sift together dry ingredients. Add flour and oil to egg mixture (alternating – beginning and ending with flour) until well blended. Fold in walnuts, pineapple and carrots by hand. Pour batter into well greased and floured 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes

    For muffins – bake 25-30 minutes. Makes 24 muffins.

    Variations: sub carrots with grated zuchinni or solid packed pumpkin.

    “1 cake”
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

    Per Serving (excluding unknown items): 315 Calories; 20g Fat (56.9% calories from fat); 5g Protein; 30g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 48mg Cholesterol; 213mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 1/2 Vegetable; 0 Fruit; 4 Fat; 1 Other Carbohydrates.

    My plan is to sub a mixture of ground flax seed with water or bananas for the eggs and a 50/50 mix of almond meal and brown rice flour for the wheat flour. I may also combine elements of a recipe for a carrot cake a classmate shared with us in class on Monday. Her recipe used coconut oil for the oil and agave syrup for the sugar. We’ll see…

    Til then, have a great holiday weekend.

  • 22Oct

    The low carb craze has generated many an interesting recipe. The latest I ran across is a cake using black beans to replace the flour. Now, I’m not into low carb so much as I am always looking for alternatives to wheat.
    Why avoid wheat you say?
    Well, there is research out there that suggests some people can not tolerate wheat. For these people, eating wheat can cause allergic reactions and other ailments such as arthritis and headaches.  Read more about wheat at the
    Weston A. Price Foundation website.
    In any case, reducing heavily refined products such as bleached white flour is not a bad idea for anyone.
    So how about a chocolate cake with no flour? It’s made by whirling up whole black beans, almond meal, eggs, cocoa, sucanat, baking powder and a bit of butter in a blender and baking. I tried it out today and I have to say it was quite yummy. I didn’t feel guilty after having this ‘bean’ cake either since there was actually some nutritional value to this tasty afternoon treat. Much better for the kiddies as they won’t get that ultra refined carb roller coaster ride and instead have a bit of protein for a more even supply of energy.
    I need to make a few adjustments to the recipe as I thought it was a tad dry. After that I think I’ll try and make a carrot cake using adzuki beans as the base. Or how about a white bean blueberry crumb cake…or a pinto bean lemon poppy seed muffin?