Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sauteed Garlicky-Cabbage

Besides kimchi, this recipe is one of my favourite ways to eat cabbage. It's also super quick to make!

Sauteed Garlicky-Cabbage
(Serves 4)

What you need:

1/2 head of cabbage (sliced finely)
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
2 tablespoons parsley
1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

Preheat a medium pan on medium low heat. Add butter to pan. Once melted, add cabbage. Cook until some cabbage becomes lightly brown, add garlic and parsley and  cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is slightly brown. Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Maple Iced Almond Flour Cookies

I'm from the capital of maple syrup! Qu├ębec produces something like three quarters of the world's maple syrup. So my love for the sticky stuff is practically bred in me. And no artificial substitute for me, thanks! Maple syrup is pricey, yes, but the amount that is needed, and the flavour that it provides is worth it. Use maple butter to top pancakes, baked doughnuts, and whatever you think would taste awesome with maple syrup.
From left to right. Maple Iced Cookies, Snicker-doodles, and Coconut Cookies

Since eating "real" food my sweet tooth has been decreasing significantly. But when I do want something sweet I make these cookies. I also use the dough recipe as a base for other cookies (e.g., before pressing, roll in equal parts coconut sugar and cinnamon and you'll have an amazing snicker-doodle).

Maple Iced Almond Flour Cookies
(24 cookies)

What you need:

2 cups almond flour
5 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon vanilla (you could also add a vanilla bean here if you really wanted to get crazy!)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons homemade maple butter (see recipe below)

What to do:

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees F. Prepare a baking sheet with butter or with parchment paper. 
Melt the coconut oil in a glass dish in the oven while it's pre-heating.  Once melted, combine coconut oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and baking soda. Add almond flour and combine. Roll balls with about a teaspoon of dough, placing on the cookie sheet. Use a flat cup (I use a mason jar) to gently press the cookies until they are about 1/3 to 1/2 inch. Bake for about 7 minutes. Wait a minute, top warm cookies with a dollop of maple butter, and then spread maple butter on the cookies one it has melted slightly. 
Maple Butter

What you'll need:

500 mL maple syrup (A grade will look prettier, while grade B will be more intense and slightly darker).

What to do:

Place ice in a large bowl and place a medium sized pot in it (this will cool the hot syrup).

In a really large pot (it can spill over real quick once boiling). Heat on medium heat until the syrup reaches a temperature of 235 degrees F on a candy thermometer. Meanwhile, Once ready, place in a large bowl filled with ice and use a smaller saucepan to use as a vessel for the hot syrup. Let this cool to 100 degrees F. Here's the "hard" part, you gotta mix the syrup (I used a wooden spoon) until it crystallizes, and this takes about 30 minutes. You can also use a mixer I suppose, but I kinda like it this way. You'll notice, after stirring for what seems like forever, that you all of a sudden have something creamy and thick. And that's it, right there, stop stirring and place in a mason jar (or 2 small ones).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Coconut Flour Pancakes

I can find a million uses for maple syrup, but I think one of the best ways to enjoy it is on some freshly made pancakes. Giving up wheat doesn't mean the end to fluffy pancakes for me though! I found a way, and it's delicious. If you have never used coconut flour before, you're in for a treat! It's gluten free and simply a great alternative to both wheat and nut flours. It's a great flour to use if you are avoiding gluten and if you are trying to limit your nut intake too. It is a bit pricey, but note that you do not need nearly as much as you would traditional flour as it absorbs a lot of liquid.

Make ahead tip: I sometimes keep some of the batter for the next day, that way I don't have to do much for breakfast except heat up a pan and cut up some fresh fruit. I can imagine that this would be great to make the night before a weekend morning too! Enjoy!

(Serves about 4)

What you need:

1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 eggs (egg substitute would likely work here, but I haven't tried it)
3 tablespoons of coconut oil (or grass-fed butter, or ghee)
1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons of milk (or almond milk, or coconut milk)
1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup, or coconut sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla

Coconut oil or butter for cooking

What to do:

In a small bowl, combine coconut flour, salt, and baking soda, and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, combine eggs, oil, milk, honey, and vanilla until well mixed. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture, and blend well. Let this sit for about 5 minutes to allow the coconut flour to absorb the ingredients.

Pre-heat a pan on medium heat. When batter is ready and pan is heated, add some coconut oil (or butter) and making sure that the pan does not get too hot, adjust your temperature accordingly.

Carefully place a tablespoon or so of batter for each pancake (if your batter is too thick, try adding a little more milk). Cook the pancakes until they are golden brown on one side, and then flip them over and finish cooking on the other side (about 2-3 minutes of cooking on each side). Be gentle with these guys, they are not as forgiving as gluten pancakes and may crumble slightly if the batter is missing moisture. And, unlike wheat flour pancakes, they don't "tell" you when they are ready by producing little bubbles all over. Watch for colour and smell.

When your pancakes are ready, give them some love! Add berries, cherries, peaches, pan-fried apples and cinnamon, bananas and walnuts, or whatever combination you can dream up. May I also suggest some maple syrup to top that off? Or possibly some maple butter? (Maple butter recipe soon to be available.)

Coconut Flour Pancakes

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Coconut Flour Lavender Shortbread with Coconut Manna and Apricot Spread

Coconut Flour Lavender Shortbread with Coconut Manna and Apricot Spread (6 small cookies)

Sometimes I have an easy idea that becomes a little more complicated as I get into the execution. These cookies are a great example of that! I found an easy recipe for some shortbread cookies make with 3 ingredients, genius! So after making them once or twice, I modified them into this creation. I expect to have several cookie variations come from this recipe and would love to hear some from you!

What you need:

3 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons butter (preferable if from grass-fed cows, or coconut oil)
1 tablespoon coconut nectar syrup (honey is a good substitute)
1/8 teaspoon lavender flowers
1.5 tablespoons coconut manna (also known as coconut butter)
1 tablespoon apricot spread (I used a store-bought organic apricot spread that did not use any added sugar or artificial sugars). 

What to do:

Pre-heat oven at 350 degrees.

In a small food processor, mix coconut flour, butter, and syrup or honey. Pulse until well combined.

Using a half-tsp measuring spoon, scoop out cookies onto baking sheet and create a small "well" in the center. Sprinkle the cookie with a few lavender flowers. Bake cookies for about 7 minutes (check them to see if they are browning too much at 6 minutes). Let cookies cool for a few minutes.

While the cookies are still slightly warm, spread coconut manna onto cookies, and then top with apricot spread. Let fully cool to ensure that cookies will hold.

Coconut Flour Lavender Shortbread with Coconut Manna and Apricot Spread

Thai-Shrimp-Cauliflower-Kale Curry

Thai-Shrimp-Cauliflower-Kale Curry
Thai-Shrimp-Cauliflower-Kale Curry (Serves 4-5 people)

At the market, I noticed some lovely wild shrimp ... and that's how this recipe started! Needing inspiration for a shrimp recipe I browsed my fridge and noticed cauliflower, a nice bunch of kale, and some cilantro. All great ingredients for a curry!

What you need:

1 lb of uncooked medium sized shrimp (wild, or raised "responsibly" if possible), shelled and deveined
1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1 onion, sliced
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 bunch kale (leaves ripped off ribs)
1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger (finely shredded)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 keffir lime leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or 1-2 chopped fresh Thai chilies, or 1/2 tsp thai red pepper powder)
1/2 - 1 teaspoon curry powder
3 tablespoons chopped cilantro 
Lime or lemon
sea salt to taste

What to do:

Heat coconut oil in a medium sized saucepan on medium-low heat until onions are soft and starting to become translucent. Add garlic and ginger, lower heat to medium-low. Cook until vegetables are softened.

Add spices to soften onions, garlic, and ginger. Slowly cook until fragrant. Add coconut milk and broth, bring to a boil and add cauliflower. Let the curry boil for about a minute and lower heat to medium-low. Add shrimp and cook until pink. Add kale as the shrimp are almost done, and cook until the shrimp are fully cooked and the kale has begun to welt. remove keffir leaves. Salt to taste. Spoon in bowls and sprinkle chopped cilantro on top. Serve with sliced lime or lemon wedges.

Why Another Food Blog?!?

I created this blog to journal my cooking and baking pursuits.

As someone who is conscious of the environment and the people who grow and harvest my food, most (if not all) of the ingredients I use are organic (or "free of pesticides"). Every time I choose to buy wild, local, organic, grass-fed, I choose against conventional factory farms, and mono-cultures. I choose to support farming practices that do not create toxic conditions for workers that pick my produce, as well as the pollinators that we rely greatly upon for so much of our food. I also try to be aware of genetically modified organisms (GMO's) as we are still uncertain on how they will affect us in the long-term. I vote with my dollar.

I try to cook using whole foods, while limiting my consumption of refined sugars, wheat, an processed foods. This is primarily for health reasons, as I have noticed that while consuming processed foods laden with refined sugars, wheat, and unhealthy oils, I've become very unhealthy. I'm learning while I go, remaining fluid throughout this journey.

I hope that we, as a society, begin to value food systems that are locally centered, support small farmers, small businesses, and individuals. As well as embrace fair trade and sustainable practices for coffee, chocolate, bananas, coconut, ect. in the communities that rely on exporting their goods.

I acknowledge that having these ethos can cost more for groceries, but I have also learned a few tips along the way to help keep costs down:

1. Shop at your Farmer's market!! You would be surprised on how inexpensive buying organic at the market really is, especially if you buy items right before they close (although, you can' t be too picky about what you get at these times). Ask for deals when you are there (especially at end of market)! Also, ask the farmers what their farming practices are, many grow organic and simply cannot afford to (or do not want to) certify.

2. Eat seasonally! Eating seasonally means less miles traveled, fresher ingredients, and lots of inspiration to work with! Get comfortable with food and working with different flavours.

3. Buy bulk! Buying bulk is a great way to reduce costs. If you have the motivation and the resources, pitch in with a group to get items at bargain prices!

4. Use those coupons! Most of the time coupons are used to advertise for processed foods and unhealthy items. However, the big chain natural food grocery stores often have really good deals and can be less expensive than their conventional counterparts.

5. Get gardening! Since I started planting my own food, I've become even more aware of what I eat and how it's grown. Even if you live in a small space, there are many things that you can grow in containers. Start with a few herbs, cherry tomatoes, and maybe even a container melon! There are endless possibilities here, and there is a great satisfaction in knowing how to grow your own food.

6. Barter! Try to trade or barter within your circle of friends, and maybe beyond. I know this may sound a little wacky to people who live in a society that is based off the dollar, but if you think about it, we all try to buy the same things anyways. Bartering or trading with your friends and/or neighbours can provide you with variety and a sense of community. You can make this fun by creating an event out of it! Trade canned goods, baked goods, and your own homegrown produce!

7. Experiment with herbs and spices! I haven't physically traveled much, but through the pursuits of my cooking adventures I've been all around the world! I still have many countries and regions to discover as food is a great way to learn about people around the world. You can buy spices fairly inexpensively in bulk at natural food stores.

Lastly. Have fun with it!

Thank you for reading.