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One of my favorite treats as a child was oranges. There’s been a family legend that’s floated around for decades by my mom—”Whenever you cried, we’d give you an orange. You would sit ever so content and eat that orange, skin and all. And then you’d want another one”.

Well, to this day one of my favorite fruits is oranges. I could envision my husband and daughter drinking the orange juice or eating the orange, or some orange zest, but the whole orange peel? No way!!!  To share my love for orange peel with my family, I had to think of a way to make an offer they couldn’t refuse—I sweetened the peel and dipped them in chocolate!!! Now how can anyone resist something sweet with chocolate. Dark chocolate!

Besides, I didn’t have the heart to throw out something organic!

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Gazpacho Soup

I recently made this soup for a very special guest, my pastor during his visit with my husband and me. I wanted him to experience the full range of textures and flavors this wonderful cold soup provides from summer’s bounty.

I made one change in the ingredients. The recipe calls for red  or sweet onions, but this time, I used a white onion instead to give it an added punch. The soup already had two sweet fruits in it-a red bell pepper and tomatoes. To give the soup some contrast, I thought a stronger, more pungent onion would provide the added kick! I was right. My pastor liked the soup so much, he e-mailed me for the recipe!

To enhance your enjoyment of the delicious gazpacho, may I suggest you pair this soup with the viewing of my painting, White Onion.

From the land of sun drenched summers, where sunlight bathes every object and colors vibrate comes Gazpacho Soup.

Refreshing Gazpacho Soup

Refreshing Gazpacho Soup

It was during one of my walks through the streets of Barcelona, Spain that I came upon this chilled soup at a local Spanish restaurant made with farm fresh vegetables. After my first spoonful, I knew I had to replicate this soup when I got home.

Today, each spoonful of this chilled, refreshing soup brings to mind the memory of the Iberian sun, the same unique summer sun that makes Sorolla paintings shimmer.

Gazpacho Soup is simple and economical to make. It is the perfect soup for summer when its ingredients are bountiful, and you’re yearning for something cool and refreshing. For an added boost in nutrition use organically grown vegetables from your local farmers’ market or from your own garden.

tomatoes 024

cubed and seeded cucumber (leave seeds if not mature) 028two stalks celery and leaves 027

sweet red pepper 025diced onions 036minced garlic 026

The vegetables for Gazpacho Soup only need to be roughly cut or sliced for the blended part of the soup. The blender or food processor does all the work! Well, except the red onions and garlic cloves. You’ll need to dice and chop a little more so that no one gets a chunk of onion or garlic in their soup.

If you’d like to add some texture to your gazpacho, reserve some of the red bell pepper, cucumber, celery, basil leaves, and cilantro. Set them aside for later. These need to be chopped a bit smaller.

I like to blend the vegetables that contain the most liquid first. The liquid makes it easier for the rest of the ingredients to liquify.

Blend four vine ripened tomatoes until liquidy. Add one half of a seeded cucumber and blend. Add celery, leaves included; half of a large sweet red pepper or one medium; two tablespoons of red onions; three cloves of garlic with shoots removed, diced. Blend.

basil 034cilantro 029lime 030

Cut or torn basil leaves; and three tablespoons of cilantro. Blend.

Add the juice of one lime to the blended mixture. Blend.

cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper chunks with cilantro and basil 038

extra virgin olive oil 035water lillies; gazpacho soup; crepes 035

In serving bowls combine diced red bell peppers, cucumber, and celery (reserved earlier).

Pour the blended mixture over the diced vegetables. Garnish with more diced vegetables, cilantro and basil.

Drizzle with extra virgin oil and hot sauce.

Salud!gazpacho soup  044

Gazpacho Soup

Serves 5-6

Ingredients:

Reserve some cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper, cilantro, and basil for added texture and garnishing.

4 organic tomatoes

1 medium, organic cucumber

2 stalks celery with leaves

1 medium organic red sweet pepper

2 tablespoons of organic red onion or sweet onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

Cut or torn cilantro and basil

extra virgin olive oil

hot sauce (cayenne )

extra virgin olive oil

1. Reserve some cucumber, celery, sweet red pepper chunks with cilantro and basil. These need to be chopped finer.

The blended portion of the soup only needs to be roughly cut.

2. Place roughly cut tomatoes in blender or food processor. Blend.

3. Add cucumber. Blend.

4. Add celery stalks and leaves. Blend.

5. Add sweet red pepper. Blend.

6. Add onion, garlic, cilantro, and basil. Blend.

7. Drizzle with hot sauce (to taste) and extra virgin olive oil.

8. Add more vegetable chunks if desired.

Modifications and suggestions: Serve with a side of crusty bread and cheese; place slices of crusty toasted bread or shrimp in the center of the soup; for protein types, add shrimp or sausage to center of soup.

Chill soup before serving. To get it extra cold, add ice cubes.

This is an easy and fun soup to make. Add more or less of each vegetable. Keep tasting to adjust the proportions to your taste.


Copyright 2009 by Nurturing Wisdom

Pitting Cherries 101

My husband, John recently purchase five bags of organic cherries on sale! Such a shopper 🙂  He also delivered an order to our friends, Rosemarie and Joe. As delicious as the cherries were, there was no way we could eat about five founds of cherries. I was thinking of washing the cherries, placing them in a container, and freezing them pit and all… until Rosemarie called. She advised me that the cherries should to be pitted before freezing otherwise the cherries would develop an almond flavor from the pits.  As I listened to her over the phone, a running monologue was going on in my head-pit them? That sounds like a lot of work! It’ll take hours with five bags of cherries. I envisioned myself cutting around each cherry pit to remove the cherries from their pits. Rosemarie must have been reading my mind. She said, “Joe has an easy way to pit them. Use the blunt end of a skewer.”

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grain-free blueberry pancakes

Happy Father’s Day!

These delicious pancakes deserve a special occasion and today’s the day. Make these for your dad today.

I’m low on soaked almonds so I’ll be substituting previously soaked and dehydrated walnuts.

 

A few Sundays ago I had a tremendous yen for pancakes but didn’t want ones made of grain. Grains had been giving me a few problems. I ODed on all the baked goods during the holidays that took a few weeks to clear out of my system. Besides, my bag of sprouted spelt flour was down to a few granules. I searched through my pantry and fridge, and I came up with a few ingredients that I thought would make some nutritious, delicious pancakes.

As I rummaged through my pantry and fridge, I thought of the flavor combinations I wanted in my pancakes. I found some dried, unsweetened coconut; eggs; frozen blueberries; vanilla; maple syrup; milk; walnuts; almonds; and salt.

It took three tries to come up with the proper combination of ingredients for these pancakes. I wanted them to be nutritious, delicious, light, fluffy, and hold together. The first few pancakes didn’t hold together (no gluten), so I added an additional egg as I made each pancake. I kept adding eggs until the pancakes held together.

I used cream of tartar in the first first week’s batch hoping to make the pancakes fluffy. The pancakes rose only slightly. The second week, I used baking soda thinking it was baking powder. The pancakes rose a bit more but had that soda taste:(  I read the label carefully for the third week’s batch, b-a-k-i-n-g p-o-w-d-e-r. The pancakes came out perfect— golden brown and fluffy:)

With all the experimenting, the pancakes were gobbled up each week by my family! Sooo thoughtful and kind to put up with my experiments! They all agreed that the third week’s batch was the best.

So, here’s my best grain-free pancakes from my (test) kitchen to your kitchen.

My Best Grain-Free Pancakes

Makes 9 to 10 pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup organic almonds, soaked and dried; will make 1/2 up of almond flour when ground

1/2 Cup of dried, unsweetened, shredded organic coconut; will make 1/2 Cup of coconut flour when ground

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder

2 teaspoons vanilla

5 range-free, organic eggs (large eggs)

1/3 Cup grass-fed, organic, whole milk (or whole organic coconut milk)

2 Tablespoons organic maple syrup

blueberries or fruit of choice ( if frozen, defrost and discard liquid)

coconut oil or your choice of fat

1. Grind almonds in blender until fine.

2. Grind coconut in blender until fine.

3. Break up any clumps of coconut flour or almond meal.

4. In a bowl mix all the dry ingredients together—almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.

5. In a second bowl, mix all the wet ingredients—vanilla, eggs, milk, and maple syrup.

6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix batter.

7. Fold in fruit. If using frozen berries, defrost and discard the liquid (I drank the blueberry juice).

8. Laddle 1/4 Cup of batter onto oiled skillet.

9. Let the pancake cook at a low flame until bubbles form.

10. Loosen the pancake and flip.

Modifications and suggestions: This versatile and basic pancake recipe is full of fiber and protein. The almonds can be substituted with walnuts. The blueberries can be substituted with other fruit. Cow’s milk may be substituted with whole coconut milk. Maple syrup can also be substituted with another sweetener such as agave to prevent the blood-sugar spike; although there is so much fiber and protein (from the shredded coconut, the skin of the whole almonds, and the eggs) in this pancake that the sugars will be slowed down. I added a sweetener to the batter so that the pancakes can be eaten as a convenient, healthy snack during the day without adding drippy syrup. If you plan to use syrup on the pancakes, the maple syrup may be omitted from the batter.

My vegan friend said that to hold the pancakes together without eggs, I can use some soy flour.

Since eggs are a very delicate protein and there are five eggs in this recipe, I cooked these pancakes with a very low flame. I used two skillets to speed up the process. You may want to try a griddle at a low heat.

This recipe is featured in The Nourishing Gourmet’s Pennywise Platter Thursday.

 


Copyright 2009-2010 by Nurturing Wisdom

Hi, Dear Friends!

Happy New Year!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Last year was a busy year getting our daughter off to college. We are now empty-nesters and miss her very much. She was home during the holiday break, and we enjoyed her company immensely. Her friends were over, and it was just like old times. She’s now returned to her college and ready for the start of her second semester.

It’s been snowing here in Pittsburgh, one of those staying in my PJs and lazing around the house days. As I looked out the window I absorbed the silence of the falling snow and the beauty of the snow dusted trees and houses. Suddenly, I had a tremendous yen for a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of hot tea. Since I have a grain problem and was recovering from a bout of too much cheating (on grain) from the holidays, I wasn’t about to bake a cookie with flour made from grain! I looked through my pantry and fridge for some possible ingredients that would make a grain-free chocolate chip cookie.

As I gathered the ingredients, my husband said, “You don’t have the ingredients to make chocolate chip cookies.” Oh, he of little faith! While I gathered, I imagined the tastes I wanted in my grain-free chocolate chip cookies. I gathered eggs, vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, almonds, dried coconut left over from making coconut milk (thinking that it might be my flour substitute), dried unsweetened coconut flakes, coconut crystals (I was dying to try in a baking recipe), almonds that I had soaked and dried, chocolate chunks left over from our daughter baking chocolate chip cookies with her friends, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, and a tub of organic Valencia Peanut Butter.

The first ingredient I eliminated was the dried coconut from making coconut milk as my flour substitute. I thought almonds would make a better flour substitute than coconut, because using coconut flour meant I would need to use extra eggs to bind it together. I didn’t want to use too many eggs. I wanted to keep the cookie dough stiffer than pancake batter. Besides, I wanted to add dry, shredded coconut to the cookie to give the cookie more fiber. I didn’t want my cookie overwhelmed with the taste of coconut. I toyed with the idea of using baking powder instead of baking soda, but I recalled baking soda as the leavening agent in regular chocolate chip cookie recipes. I wondered why not baking powder. Anyone know why? In the end I thought I should stick with a tried and true leavening agent for chocolate chip cookies, baking soda.

grain-free chocolate chunk cookies

Well, surprise, surprise! My grain-free chocolate chip cookies turned out to be little nuggets that were crispy on the outside, and moist on the inside. The extra protein from the almonds, eggs, and peanut butter balanced the sugars in the coconut crystals and the chocolate chunks. The extra fiber from the dried coconut, almond flour, and peanut butter slowed down the sugars  from the coconut crystals, already a low glycemic food, that didn’t give me a sugar high. This cookie turned out to be exactly the right accompaniment for my cup of tea on a snowy afternoon while lazing around in my PJs.

My husband said, “Mmm, these are good. Did you write down the recipe?”

Grain-Free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Makes about 2 dozen medium size cookies

Preheat oven 375°

Ingredients:

1  3/4 Cup blanched organic almonds (soaked and dried)

1 Cup organic chocolate chunks or chips (organic 65%)

1/4 Cup of unsweetened organic shredded coconut

1 teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs (range-free, organic at room temperature)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

4 Tablespoons of coconut crystals

2 Tablespoons of Organic Valencia Peanut Butter (smooth or chunky)

4 Tablespoons of organic coconut oil or grass-fed butter (1/4 Cup)

1. Grind almonds in the blender. Break up clumps with a fork or sift. Place in a large bowl.

2. Add shredded coconut.

3. Add baking soda.

4. Add chocolate chunks.

5. Melt coconut oil (how to measure a solid fat).

6. In a second bowl, add 2 eggs (whisk).

7. Whisk in vanilla.

8. Whisk in coconut crystals until disolved.

9. Whisk in coconut oil.

10. Add liquid to dry ingredients. Whisk.

10. Whisk in peanut butter.

The dough will be vey sticky. Line your cookie sheet with brown parchment paper. Drop tablespoon size dough pieces onto cookie sheet about an inch between each cookie. Flatten with a spatula or spoon. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Let cool 15 minutes on rack.

Suggestions and Modifications:

1. You’re probably saying to yourself, “She’s not really suggesting I eat cookies for breakfast, is she???!!!!” Well, I did have two cookies (really wanted three) for breakfast with a glass of warm milk. I warmed them up in the toaster oven. They were crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. Believe it or not, I was satisfied. My energy was up, and I wasn’t hungry  until lunch time. After all, these cookies contain organic ingredients, and they’re full of fiber, protein, carbs, and fats. They’re much healthier than boxed cereals.

2. I think this recipe would make a great basic cookie recipe from which you can create other cookies since the peanut butter and coconut were barely noticeable. Any nut butter can be substituted for the peanut butter. How about almond butter with some natural almond extract for a delicious almond cookie! Replace the chocolate chunks with cranberries. Add some orange zest and walnuts and you’ll have a wonderful cranberry, orange, walnut cookie. How about raisins in place of the chocolate chunks, some cinnamon, and extra shredded coconut for a chewy raisin, cinnamon cookie. I’m very eager to try these variations of this grain-free cookie recipe. Please let me know how you like this recipe, or any of my suggested variations.


Copyright 2009-2011 by Nurturing Wisdom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rejoice!

Tee Doys

Mom’s recipe changed through the years. When were children, the filling was crushed peanuts, sweetened shredded coconut, Chinese dried dates, and pork fat. Our job was to crush the peanuts with a glass bottle that served as our rolling pin. Eventually pork fat was given up for a healthier filling—freshly ground Valencia peanut butter and lotus seed paste.

The outer layer, made of glutinous rice flour and Chinese brown sugar, varied with the addition of sweet potato or no sweet potato depending upon its availability. I use as much sweet potato as the dough will allow me to increase the nutrition and fiber to these sweet golden jewels. When these are made right, the outer layer is crispy and thin on the outside and chewy on the inside. The filling is creamy and flavors the neutral glutinous rice flour exterior. If crunchy peanut butter is used, there is an added surprise crunch as you chew.

Tee Doys (Sesame Balls)

Makes about 39 plus (extra good when shared with friends and neighbors)

1/4 Cup of raw sesame seeds

2/3 Cup of filtered water

1 sweet potato about 1 3/4 lb. (peel and cut into cubes)

1 lb. of Chinese brown sugar or substitute with coconut crystals

1 lb. of freshly ground organic Valencia peanut butter

1 lb. of lotus seed paste

1/2 Cup of cold filtered water

2/3 Cup of Thai glutinous rice flour

1 box of Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour

32 ounces of high heat cooking oil (sunflower oil)

The Chinese brown sugar and lotus seed paste can be purchased in Chinese grocery stores. The brown sugar may come in blocks of 10 pieces or 5 piece packs. Use a total of one pound. If you use a large sweet potato, use less sugar.

The Thai Glutinous Rice Flour and Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour  can also be purchased at Chinese grocery stores. The Thai Glutinous Rice Flour is more finely ground.

Utensils:

measuring cup

medium bowl for peanut butter-lotus seed paste

small bowl for sesame seeds

medium bowl for gooey Thai glutinous flour-water mixture

medium pot

wok

rack to hold wok in place

small rack to drain tee doys (sesame balls)

1 pair of wooden chopsticks or a wooden spoon with a flat edge

1 teaspoon to spoon peanut butter-lotus seed filling into each tee doy

1 fork to mash sweet potatoes

1. Toast sesame seeds in medium pot. Place in small bowl. Set aside.

2. Peel and cube sweet potato.

3. Place cubed sweet potato and 2/3 cup water in medium pot and bring to boil. Lower flame. Cook until    soft.

4. Mash sweet potato with fork.

5. Break Chinese brown sugar into smaller pieces and add to mashed sweet potato. Cover.

6. Cook mixture until all the sugar is dissolved over a low flame. If more water is needed, add a small amount. Keep an eye on the mixture. Stir occasionally with wooden chopsticks or wooden spoon. Don’t let mixture overflow or burn.

7. In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup of cold water to 2/3 cup of Thai glutinous rice flour. Mix. It will look gooey.

8. With wooden chopsticks or a wooden spoon, stir small amounts of the gooey glutinous rice mixture into the pot of sugar-sweet potato. Continue adding and stirring. The mixture will get stiff and turn darker. As you stir, it will cook and start to pull away from the sides of the pot as you stir.

9. Coat a cookie sheet or marble slab with Mockiko Sweet Rice Flour. Reserve some flour for coating hands and dough.

10. Place a half box of Mochiko flour on to cookie sheet or marble slab.

11. Make a well in the pile of flour and pour a small amount of the hot sweet potato-sugar-glutinous rice flour mixture into the well. Start kneading the mixture. Continue adding more flour a bit at a time as you knead until the dough is no longer sticky—almost the entire box. Be careful with the hot mixture!

12. Break about 1 1/2 inches of dough off and roll into a ball.

13. Press ball into the reserved Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour.

14. Press the reverse side of ball into sesame seeds.

15. Over the dish of sesame seeds, start to make a bowl-shape. Push down into the side of dough with flour using your thumbs. Turn the bowl-shape as you press the sides of the bowl between your thumbs and index fingers to make the wall of the bowl thinner.

16. Fill the bowl-shape with the peanut butter-lotus seed filling.

17. Using your thumb and index finger bring about 1/16th of an inch together on the edge of the bowl. Repeat this around the entire edge until the opening is smaller.

18. Pinch opening closed.

19. Flatten long piece of dough.

20. Fold piece of dough back.

21. Heat oil until hot but not smoking. Keep the flame low to low-medium. When you smell the oil, it is hot enough to start cooking the tee doys.

22. Place one tee doy into the hot oil. Gently move it around in the hot oil with your wooden chopsticks.

23. When the tee doy turns slightly golden, place another tee doy into the oil. Gently move the tee doys around and keep them separated with your chopsticks. Continue adding a new tee doy as the  previous tee doy turns slightly golden. I usually have 3 tee doys of different degrees of doneness in the wok.

24. When the tee doy is golden, remove it from the oil and place on the draining rack on the wok. If you don’t have a draining rack, use a dish with paper towels.

25. After they’re drained and cooled, they can be served with your favorite beverage or eaten as a snack.

There’s nothing like biting into a freshly cooked tee doy. The dough is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. They’re even more delicious the next day. The sweet potato and rice flour flavors are more pronounced.

Modifications and Suggestions:

Tee doys are served during the Chinese New Year as a holiday treat, usually once a year. As with serving any fried foods, I try to maintain the alkaline-acid balance, the proper omega 6–omega 3 ratios, and  boost the antioxidant levels by adding other nutritious ingredients and foods to the rest of the day’s meals.

1. Only use high-heat oils sunflower or safflower. Don’t use low or medium heat oils. They may become carcinogenic when heated too high or to its smoking point.

Since omega 6 oils are very unstable, don’t reuse the oil.

I’ve been thinking of trying coconut oil to cook my tee doys next year. I understand that coconut oil can be heated to 350º. I’ll heat the oil close to 350º and see how well a tee doy cooks.

If you have fried in coconut oil, please let me know what you think.

2. Sunflower and safflower, canola, peanut, soybean oils are all polyunsaturated oils with no omega 3’s or a very low omega 3 to omega 6 ratio; therefore, I balance these treats with some omega 3’s—fish or krill oil, eat some fish high in omega 3 (salmon or cod) during a meal, or serve omega 3 eggs during breakfast.

3. Eat or drink some extra antioxidants—blueberries, dark chocolate, prunes, oregano, or green tea.

4. Balance these fried treats (acid) with an alkaline soup or eat a seaweed salad during the day.


 


Copyright 2009-2010 by Nurturing Wisdom

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