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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Saturday
Mar072009

Salmon Stuffed Baked Collard Rolls with Red Pepper-Carrot Sauce (gluten free, egg free, dairy free, vegan/vegetarian option)

The other day I wanted something resembling stuffed manicotti, but without the pasta, tomatoes, and cheese. Funny, right? Don't scoff at how weird that might seem. I didn't want the manicotti, I wanted the idea of manicotti - something stuffed, covered in sauce, and baked. Do I like manicotti? That's complicated. I love how it tastes and looks and smells, but I hate how it makes me feel. So in all, I can't really say I like manicotti, I just like the idea of manicotti. Good in theory, bad in practice. I'm guessing many of you know exactly what I mean! Sometimes you just miss the idea of a food or a dish, but not really the food itself.

I've been on a collard kick lately, and decided a stuffed collard roll baked in some sort of sauce would totally fit the bill.  I got home from work and looked in my fridge and pantry. I saw a can of salmon, and that sounded like a good filling for my collard leaves. In the fridge, I found some leftover cooked carrots and celery I salvaged from a chicken stock-making project, an open jar of roasted red peppers, and a kohlrabi. That seemed like enough. So, I set to work.

This was a fun exercise in spontaneous measuring and mixing, my favorite way to cook. In no time, I had made my salmon stuffing and prepared my sauce, and it was time to fill those happy little collards up. So, I stuffed 'em, rolled 'em, covered 'em with sauce, sprinkled 'em with onions, and put 'em in the oven to bake. The result? Total success! And they looked beautiful. The bright green collards were striking against the vibrant, rust colored sauce; my spontaneous creation of humble leftovers and canned fish looked downright fancy. And it smelled really delicious and tasted even better.  Vegetarian and vegan friends, I think you could easily substitute tempeh or baked tofu (or some imitation-meat product) for the salmon in this recipe, and turn out something just as wonderful.  


I only made two rolls, but I doubled the recipe below to make four. One roll is surprisingly filling, and could easily serve as an entree item if served with a salad, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, soup, or something else.  These rolls would be delicious served with a side of garlicky, risotto-style rice. I hear that short grain brown rice, if cooked with extra water/stock (3:1) for a little longer than usual makes a pretty good cheat for arborio rice. Haven't tried it yet myself, but let me know if you do!  

Salmon Stuffed Baked Collard Rolls with Red Pepper-Carrot Sauce

yield: 4 rolls
  • 2 5-6 oz cans salmon OR 8-12 oz tempeh, baked tofu, or other meat substitute
  • 6 large collard leaves
  • 2 small or 1 large kohlrabi
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 celery branch
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1/2 c roasted red pepper halves/strips (about 1 whole pepper if home roasting)
  • 1 tsp tarragon
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 T olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Drain salmon and put in bowl. If using tempeh, tofu, or an imitation meat product, decide if you want to have it in strips, cubed, finely chopped/crumbled, or whatever. Prepare it however you'd like, and place in a bowl.
  2. Peel onion, cut in quarters. Finely mince one quarter of the onion, and add to salmon/meat substitute. Finely slice remaining onion and set aside.
  3. Next, steam your veggies in batches:
  4. WAsh collards, and cut out tough portion of stem. Part of your leaf may be 'forked' at the end after cutting out the stalk - that's okay! Steam collard leaves for 2-3 minutes, or until softened and bright green. Remove, let cool, and pat dry. Reserve 4 of the largest leaves. Cut the other two in half lengthwise, layer, and roll lengthwise to make a cigar-sized roll. Then, finely slice through the roll, working your way from one end to the other - this technique is called a chiffonade. Add sliced collards to bowl with salmon and onions.
  5. Cut kohlrabi into chunks and steam until just tender. Finely dice about one half of the steamed kohlrabi, and add to salmon and collards. Place the remaning kohlrabi chunks in a blender, or if using an immersion blender, a large bowl.
  6. Add 1/2 c minced celery to salmon/vegetarian option, and steam the remaining celery and carrots until tender. Place steamed carrots and celery in blender with kohlrabi, and add roasted red peppers, stock, olive oil, and blend until smooth. Add salt, pepper, basil, and tarragon to taste, and blend again until well mixed. Set aside.
  7. Mix salmon/vegetarian option, collards, kohlrabi, celery, and onion, and add basil, salt, and pepper; stir until well mixed.
  8. Place one quarter of salmon/veggie mixture at top of collard leaf, fold in left and right sides, and roll up lengthwise, like a burrito. If leaf is forked at the bottom from removing the stalk, just try to pull the pieces together, layering slightly, and wrap around roll. Perfect! Repeat rolling process with remaining salmon/veggie mixture and remaining collard leaves.
  9. Spread a small amount of sauce on the bottom of an 11x7 inch glass baking dish. Place collard rolls in pan, and pour sauce over rolls. Toss remaining sliced onions in a little olive oil, and if desired, a mix of your favorite gluten free flour, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dry basil. Sprinkle coated onions over sauce and rolls, and place dish in the oven.
  10. Bake at 350 until warmed through and onions are golden, about 35-45 minutes.

 

Thursday
Mar052009

Extra! Extra! Kim kicks Candida!

I just got back lab work from the Candida Intensive Test from Genova Laboratories.


DRUMROLL>>>>>

Hooray!  I tested negative for the Candida antibody.  The yeast culture also came back negative; there was only a small amount of yeast, such a small amount, in fact, that it couldn't be cultured.  

What amazing news.  Seriously.  That makes me want to cry with joy. All of this has been worth it. It worked! It really WORKED!!!!!!!!!

 Granted, Candida is tough to test for, symptoms are a better indicator than labs sometimes.  I have been feeling so much stronger, so much better, so much more like my old self. I haven't had issues with BV in ages. And everything just feels better. Combined with these results,my naturopath is confident is saying that it looks like I may have killed the Candida and stabilized the yeast! Natural healing works wonders. This is so gratifying. What great news.  I still have to be very very very careful; Candida is opportunistic. It easily takes over in an unstable environment. This is a pivotal time.

This also indicates that there is still more work to be done.  I'm not totally 100% yet; there is still more healing to do.  I still have days when I don't feel great, I still get stomach aches and have digestive issues, I'm still not as strong as I used to be, and my menstrual cycle is still MIA. So, while the Candida and yeast may be at bay for now, we're not done yet.  It is time to really work on healing my tempermental gut, restoring good bacteria, and strengthening my immune system.  My naturopath is out on maternity leave, and a couple of different naturopaths are filling in for her.  While it is hard filling in new people, having a new point of view on treatment is kind of interesting.  I just had a phone consult and we have a new plan of action to help keep the yeast away and to help heal the gut.  She is recommending two new supplements to my daily regimen to help facilitate healing the gut: SeaCure and GlutAloeMine.  We'll also be changing up how I take my Caproyl, mixing it with flax seed, my probiotic, bentonite clay, and water, and drinking this sludge twice per day.  Sounds great, right?  I'll add these new things to my usual cod liver oil, vitamin, digestive enzyme and DGL (my favorite).  The SeaCure sounds pretty amazing, testimonials from their website and the information from the naturopath make it sound very effective.

Great news. What great news.

I'll still be keeping up many of these restrictions for awhile - you can't just jump back in to anything. And I've really enjoyed living without sugar and all that stuff, I feel much better without it. But this might mean that more fruit could come back soon...that would be very exciting. And maybe honey or maple syrup or brown rice syrup could find its way into a homemade energy bar or cookie. All in due time. All in due time.

As I've learned, patience and moderation is key in the healing process.

Continued thoughts of wellness to all of you in your own health journeys, and may you find the answers and results you are looking for.

Thursday
Mar052009

Spelt Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies (wheat free)


These are some of my favorite cookies on the planet.  Slightly sweet, chewy, and dense, with just a hint of banana and gooey chocolate, these cookies even win over people that don't really like bananas.  Like me.  But, let me make this clear: these bad boys are not vegan, they are not gluten free, they are not sugar free. These cookies are full of sugar, butter, spelt, oats, egg, and chocolate chips.  

Needless to say, I haven't eaten them in a very long time.  

Someday, I will make a gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan adaptation, but right now I am avoiding both bananas and oats, since it turns out I have a mild allergy to them. In a few months I'll try reintroducing them and see if I have any reactions, but in the meantime, no banana cookies for me.   

I think it would actually be quite simple to adapt this recipe to be gluten free, vegan, sugar free, or all three. GF oat flour, or another GF flour or flour mix, could be used instead of spelt flour. GF oats could be used, or you could try substituting quinoa flakes or poha (pressed rice flakes). Instead of egg, try your favorite egg substitute, or maybe add another banana. Instead of brown sugar, try using a tolerated sweetener, making the proper adjustments if using a liquid like honey or agave. Instead of butter, try using coconut oil or more shortening. Use your favorite allergen-free chocolate or carob chips to finish it off, and if desired, some chopped nuts. I've been experimenting with making my own carob chips, and those would be pretty killer in this recipe. Most commercial carob chips are grain-sweetened (bummer) or contain sugar, and usually also have soy lecithin (bummer #2). So I tried Sally Fallon's recipe for making them from scratch using carob flour and coconut oil, and sweetened them with xylitol. They are great, and worked really well in a recent quinoa cookie experiment! I'll post that recipe soon.


So, my dear GF and vegan readers, I issue you an adaptation challenge: go forth!  Adapt!  It is well worth a shot, because these cookies rock. Let me know if you try it, and please share your adaptations and experiments!

As a side note, I love the banana ripening chart photo.  I found it here; I didn't know that websites existed for produce postharvest technology.  Amazing.  I love the internet.  Anyway, the optimum banana ripeness for this recipe is demonstrated by banana number 7 in the image above. Happy baking!

Spelt Oatmeal Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 1 1/2 c + 1 c spelt flour (or oat, barley, whole wheat, GF flour of choice, or mix, but I always used spelt)
  • 1/2 c loosely packed brown sugar (about 1/4 c packed)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 3/4 c butter/shortening (mix of half and half is good)
  • 1 happy egg
  • 1 c mashed ripe banana (about 2 whole bananas)
  • 1 3/4 c rolled oats (not instant)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c chocolate chips
  • 2-3 T honey, as desired
  • optional: 1/2 c chopped nuts
  1. Preheat oven to 350*.  Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, mix together 1 1/2 c flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter/shortening with sugar.  Add egg,  banana, and honey, and mix again until well blended.  
  4. Gradually mix in dry ingredients, then add oats.  Add in up to 1 cup of the additional reserved flour to achieve a dough consistency.  Fold in chocolate chips and optional nuts.
  5. Spoon onto baking sheet.  Bake at 350* for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven.
  6. Let cool for a minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

 

Sunday
Mar012009

BYOCJ: Let's Make Sauerkraut Party

BYOCJ = Bring Your Own Cabbage and Jar

I decided to host a Let's Make Sauerkraut Party on Saturday night.  I made an Evite for it and everything.  I have been totally fascinated with the idea of making my own raw sauerkraut and cultured vegetables lately, and wanted to make a party out of it.  Why not?  Everyone likes to eat good food, people like to hang out, and this is a pretty cheap way to have a night of fun.  Anyway, this is the kind of party to expect from a hippie foodie German girl.  Eight of my more food nerdy friends were able to make it; six made sauerkraut with me, and two observed the whole thing.  It was a hit!  I invited a ton of friends, but to be honest, I'm glad only eight came - we had so much cabbage flying around as it was, I don't know what I would have done with more guests!
I instructed everyone to bring at least one 1 qt jar, at least 1 head of cabbage, and any other stuff they wanted to add. I also told everyone to bring their own cutting board, a big bowl, and a knife.  I provided salt, filtered water, and extra add ins and some backup heads of cabbage.   It was a wild mess of a party.  I think that cabbage has now been ground into my carpet, somehow cabbage ended up in my bathroom sink, and I got covered in cabbage juice after an unfortunate incident involving a bowl of salty cabbage water and a very slippery, heavy jar of newly packed kraut....
Lacto-fermented vegetables are really good for you. I've discovered that I tolerate them well,  and while I do love the convenience of purchasing all those tasty, high quality prepared krauts, I don't want to pay $6 or $7 for a mere 16 oz of fermented vegetables any longer.  Time to cut the cord and do this myself, the way that my German farm wife great grandma probably did back in the day, long before anyone in their right mind would pay $6 for a 16 oz jar of humble cabbage.  According to the inflation calculator I found online, a $6 jar of cabbage in 1920 would be the equivalent of $65.62 jar of cabbage today.  That really puts all of this in perspective.  Cabbage is cheap.  Chopping vegetables is easy. And fermenting stuff is totally effortless  - nature does all the work for you.  So let's get it on.  Let's make some sauerkraut.

To prepare for this whole thing, I bought all sorts of extra veggies for my guests to add in: green onions, a big bag of carrots, onions, jalepenos, garlic, red peppers, ginger, beets, lemon, and turnips.  I also had all the basics from my pantry: chili flakes, some different vinegars (rice, apple cider, ume), soy sauce, honey, different seaweeds, and a pantry full of herbs and spices.  I also had an extra head or two of cabbage, just in case - which was good, because we NEEDED it. I was hoping my guests would want to use some of those vinegars and soy sauce packets and other pantry items that I can't use anymore.  : )  For reference, I had out a few books so we could get proportions of salt to water right, and have some recipe suggestions: Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, Healing with Whole Foods by Paul Pitchford, and Vibrant Living by James Levin, M.D. and Natalie Cederquist.
Everyone got really creative with their krauts, and it was fun to have so many ingredients to choose from. Here's the kraut round-up, left to right:
  • Becky and Dylan made a kim chee-type kraut, with a mix of green and purple cabbage, carrot, jalepeno, ginger, green onion, and garlic.  It was a beautiful rainbow in a jar!  
  • Scott and Tracy went classic with green cabbage, garlic, and dill. Beautiful in its simplicity.
  • I made a dilly kim chee thing, with napa cabbage, green onion, grated carrot, slivered red pepper, garlic, and dill weed and dill seed, it was very pretty and very juicy. That napa cabbage really crushed down - I ended up needing about 2 1/2 cabbages!
  • Dana and Ben, a.k.a. Team Cilantro, made two Thai inspired krauts:  one with bok choy, tons of cilantro, green onion, yellow onion, jalepeno, and ginger, and another batch that used that mix as a base with added napa and green cabbage, red pepper, and red curry paste.  The first batch was a beautiful dark emerald color, and second batch was kind of an everything-but-the kitchen-sink thing that smelled awesome. 
After everyone left, and I cleaned up the crazy mess that was my kitchen and dining/art/craft room, I also made a batch of pickled turnips and beets, because I positively adore turnips and beets, I had the ingredients ready to go, and I was on a roll, baby.  
This party was really fun.  My friends were totally surprised at how much fun they had cutting up cabbages and pounding the cabbage and getting all covered in cabbage juice, and are really stoked to see how their kraut turns out!  In the end, it was a total blast! Plus, it gave me a great excuse to make some tasty food for my guests: Squash, Parsnip, and Carrot Soup, raw and steamed vegetables with Red Pepper Goat Cheese Dip and Beet Bean Dip, pear and blueberry salad, and some tasty Asian rice crackers, just to name a few things. And from a monetary perspective, as suspected, making kraut ended up being way cheaper than buying it pre-made. For example, I ended up with a 1 qt (32 oz) jar of lovely kraut for about $4. My batch of pickled turnips and beets were also a pretty good deal; I ended up with 1 1-qt (32 oz) jar and 1 1-pint (16 oz) jar for probably about $6 total. Great grandma would be proud. 

You know, I think more people should have sauerkraut parties.  Just try googling "sauerkraut party".  Not a lot of results.  The most prominent match documents a sauerkraut-making birthday party for an 80-year-old guy named Al in Michigan.  It looks like a lot of fun, and they are making their kraut in big buckets!  I've always connected well with old men due to my interest in history, the ways of old, and other such things; apparently, the similarities continue.  Anyway, not a lot of mention of sauerkraut-making festivities online; this needs to change.

So, in sauerkraut making solidarity, I will be offering up recipes for the two batches of lacto-fermented goodness I made at my sauerkraut soirée: the newly named Kim's Dilly Chee (my own spontaneous creation) and the recipe for Pickled Turnips and Beets from Nourishing Traditions.  Right now these are both fermenting in my kitchen. In a few short days, I'll open them up and try them. Then I'll post the recipes and let you know how they turn out!

 

Yours, in cabbage loving solidarity,
Kim

Sunday
Mar012009

Sprouted Buckwheat Coconut Waffles with Kabocha Coconut Sauce (gluten free, vegan, sugar free, candida friendly)


Waffle attempt numero dos!  I couldn't help myself, I needed to try making another waffle recipe.  Today is a buckwheat day, so it was time to pull out the old buckwheat groats and see what would happen.  I always end up combining buckwheat with coconut it seems, I really like the flavors together.  And this recipe is no exception!  I think these waffles are pretty great, and each one packs a major nutritional punch.  Buckwheat, amaranth, coconut, and flax seed all have lots of healthy fiber, as well being natural sources of healthy protein and amino acids.  In fact, amaranth is one of highest sources of both in the gluten-free "grain" world, and along with buckwheat, is a great low glycemic "grain" option. And let's not forget about all the healthy omegas from the flax seed.  Or all the benefits from the coconut.  In addition to being ever so tasty, coconut provides a ton of nutritive value.  Coconut oil and meat provide lots of healthy antioxidants, fatty acids, polyphenols, and vitamins, most notably lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid, all of which have naturally antifungal, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties.  What does that mean?  It helps to regulate healthy bacteria in the gut, for starters.  That's important for everyone, especially those of us with pesky Candida issues.  And coconut is a good source of protein, and is also low on the GI scale.  


Like my other waffle recipe, this recipe uses the whole amaranth and buckwheat grains, not their flours.  The soaking process helps to neutralize phytic acid, and starts the sprouting process, activating important enzymes, breaking down proteins, and making it more digestible overall.  Hooray!  So, make sure to leave time to let your grains soak before  making this recipe.
After pulling the first beautiful batch out of the waffle maker - and being really pleasantly surprised at how great the waffle looked - I decided I needed a sauce.  A coconut base seemed fitting, and I remembered the can of coconut milk in my pantry.  Then I remembered the Kabocha squash I had in the fridge that didn't get used in my soup last night.  Perfect!  Squash and pumpkin, particularly Kabocha, often get combined with coconut in southeast Asian cuisine, so I figured it was the perfect choice.  
I love kabocha squash.  I fancy myself a bit of a squash aficionado, and I think kabocha is really wonderful.  The flesh is dense and very sweet, the color bright and vibrant, and the skin totally is totally edible and very nutritious - once cooked it becomes very soft, unlike many other squash skins.  Kabocha is used a lot in Japanese and macrobiotic cooking, I love to use it to make soups, fun little squash-agar agar "jiggler" treats, or just to eat it plain.  Anyway, the sauce was super yummy and really beautiful, and ready in about 8 minutes, just in time to pull out my second batch of waffles from the waffle maker.  I ended up with a ton of sauce, so I'm freezing the leftovers in small batches to use for my leftover waffles.  Or just to eat plain when I want something sweet and pudding like -the natural sweetness of kabocha and coconut are really decadent, even without added sweetener!  It is so rich and flavorful, it begs the question "Is this really vegan?".  Make sure to find organic or all natural coconut milk, since many commercially produced varieties can be filled with all sorts of strange preservatives or additives.  I chose lite coconut milk, since full fat gives me trouble sometimes, but choose whichever you prefer.
3/5/09 UPDATE: I ate two leftover frozen waffles for breakfast today, and they were awesome!  I put them in the toaster oven to thaw, and toasted them for about 5-7 minutes until they were warmed through.  The inside was still soft, and the outside was crisp!  So, the waffles passed the frozen and thawed test with flying colors.  I also thawed my leftover squash sauce to use for dunking.  It was a pretty great way to start a Thursday.
SPROUTED BUCKWHEAT  COCONUT WAFFLES 
yield: approx 5 5-inch square waffles
3/4 c whole dry buckwheat groats
1/4 c whole dry amaranth grain
2 T shredded coconut
2 T coconut flour
2 T melted coconut oil
1 T ground flax seed
water to cover soaked grains + 1/2 c
1 tsp vanilla extract (alcohol and gluten free)
pinch cardamom
stevia (or agave nectar) to taste
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp vitamin c crystals (optional, helps with leavening)
  1. Place buckwheat and amaranth to soak in water overnight or for at least 5-6 hours. 
  2. Drain grains well in a very fine sieve - amaranth is very small and likes to escape.  If you don't have a fine sieve, just try dumping out as much of water as you can, or use something fine and meshy like cheesecloth.
  3. Transfer to a blender, or if using an immersion blender, a large cup or bowl. 
  4. Level grains, and add just enough fresh water to cover. Add the coconut, coconut flour, salt, cardamom, baking powder, vitamin c crystals (if using), melted coconut oil, flax, vanilla, agave and stevia, and 1/4 c of the additional water. Blend well.  Coconut flour absorbs liquid like crazy - so, if necessary, add the additional 1/4 c of water to make a thick, but still spoonable, batter.  Let sit for 5-10 minutes for flax to absorb some of the liquid.  If it seems to thick, don't hesitate to add a little extra water.
  5. Heat up waffle iron, greasing lightly with coconut oil. When ready, fill waffle iron with batter. Close iron and bake as directed in waffle iron user's manual, until waffle stops steaming and starts to smell done. I found that about 8 minutes in my waffle iron yielded a well cooked waffle that had a beautiful golden color and seemingly impossible crispy crust.
Remove from iron and let cool a minute or two on a rack, the waffle will continue to crisp up.  

 

 


yeild: approx 2 c sauce 
1 c organic lite coconut milk
1 1/2 c Kabocha squash, peeled and diced (or other dense, sweet squash like Hubbard or Buttercup)
optional, if more sweetness is desired: pinch stevia  - or if sugar isn't an issue for you use agave or a little maple syrup (the maple would be really good!)
optional: fresh or dried ginger
optional: 1 T flaxseed oil
  1. Steam Kabocha until soft, or microwave in a covered dish with a little water for 5 minutes until tender.
  2. In a blender or with an immersion blender, mix coconut milk and cooked squash until smooth, adding more coconut milk as necessary to reach desired consistency.  
  3. If desired, add a pinch or stevia or a squirt of agave to taste, some fresh or dried ginger for added kick, or a tablespoon of flax oil.
  4. Serve warm over waffles!  Freeze leftovers to use later.  Or just eat it because it is that good.  :)