Winter wild rice salad

Winter wild rice salad

This is what happens when it’s Friday night, it’s too cold to go to the store, and the farmer’s market was six days ago: I become creative with an empty fridge and let my taste buds decide what works well together. I had some leftover wild rice, a persimmon, and some fresh herbs. Paired with walnut oil, which I have been a bit obsessed with lately, and some other pantry basics, I fed myself (correction: I am feeding myself as we speak). It may not be the main dish for a dinner party, but it’s definitely tasty (and easy!). 2.5 cups cooked wild rice 1 persimmon, peeled and cubed 1 Tbs chopped parsley (I added some chopped fresh thyme too) 2 Tbs chopped walnuts 2 Tbs dried currants 1 Tbs chopped red onion (optional) 1tsp walnut oil 1tsp balsamic vinegar juice of half a lemon salt & pepper to taste photo...
Ingredient spotlight: Lavender salt

Ingredient spotlight: Lavender salt

Like most interesting blog posts, it started with an experiment and turned into something worth sharing with you lucky folks. Yesterday I made lavender salt in my kitchen, using a few cheap ingredients, a food processor, and a bowl. Easy, right? It yielded a pretty, unique Christmas gift in about 30 minutes. Just need some gold ribbon and a hand-written label- DONE. You’re familiar with lavender, or Lavandula, an abundant purple flower used for ornamental purposes and essential oil. Lavender is popular in aromatherapy because of its healing properties and is used for relaxation, to calm nerves, and to fight stress. It is also used in herbalism as an antiseptic and pain reliever. Some of the constituents in lavender assist in the breakdown of toxins in the liver and lymph and are known to have antifungal and anticancer effects. You can read all about its pharmacology here. Lavender is part of the mint family, along with rosemary, thyme, and sage, and can enhance the flavor of many different foods. It has great potential in both savory and sweet dishes and complements such flavors as chocolate, lemon, and ginger. DIY lavender salt I made rosemary and lavender flavored salts from the basic proportion mentioned on this website: 1/4 cup coarse grain sea salt and 1 teaspoon of dried herbs. Instead of a mortar and pestle I used a small food processor, and I added a drop of lavender essential oil per cup of salt (only one!), but is not necessary. Make sure you buy culinary lavender, which is safe for consumption and won’t have fertilizer or pesticide residues. Sprinkle some on… -Rubs for meats (lamp chops especially)...
Whole grain #2: Amaranth

Whole grain #2: Amaranth

Though not a vegetarian, I’m interested in learning about plant-based sources of healthy protein that can contribute to a balanced whole foods diet. In the quinoa post, we learned that many whole grains actually contain more usable protein than meat, and amaranth is one of those lesser-known grains with an astounding nutritional profile. You should really get to know each other… Originating in Mexico and Central America, amaranth was an important food staple for the Aztecs and was also used in festivals and religious practices- namely human sacrifice. Not too appetizing, I know. I thought it was worth mentioning because, although having been used in sacrificial rituals, the word amaranth comes from the Greek word for “everlasting” or “one that does not whither.” Hmm, ironic or sensible? Chew on that for a while. It is still a popular ingredient in many Mexican dishes, often used for making sweets, candies and a traditional chocolate drink called Atole (recipe below). In the past two decades, amaranth has spread throughout the world to become an important food source in countries such as Nepal, India, and Africa. Perhaps this is due to the plant’s adaptability to harsh climate and drought resistant nature. A true “everlasting” grain, I suppose. It became more widely cultivated domestically by the 1970s, and amaranth is now grown throughout the U.S. and can be easily found in most health food stores. Tiny grain, big benefits And I mean TINY: don’t accidentally drop a bag on the floor, you’ll be finding these sand-like grains in your grout for months. Though small, this yellow grain packs a punch with a strong flavor and abundance of...
Autumn harvest

Autumn harvest

Fall fruits & veggies Fruits: Asian pears, grapes, pomegranate, apples, plums, cranberries, kumquats, dates, figs, quince. Vegetables: arugula, brussel sprouts, kale, winter squash, pumpkin, swiss chard, broccoli, mushrooms, radicchio, fennel, green beans, okra, parsnips, turnips, belgian endive, daikon radish Why eat seasonally? There are lots of benefits to eating seasonally, but here are the biggies: It’s pleasing to the palate. Pick a ripe cherry tomato off the vine and pop it in your mouth; prepare yourself lunch using handfuls of greens picked fresh from the garden. Notice how food tastes better when it’s eaten close to harvest? It’s true, and it makes sense: when food is transported over long distances, it must be picked before it’s fully ripe in anticipation of it’s journey. These fruits and vegetables are refrigerated and don’t ripen in the same way as fresh produce does, thus effecting their taste and texture. I stopped eating mealy, flavorless tomatoes in the middle of winter for precisely this reason. It’s more nutritous. Vitamins and minerals are more abundant when food is ripe and fresh. How clever of nature to make the most nutritious and readily available food the best tasting! Even after a few-day journey from farm to market, some of the vital nutrients are already lost, so think of what happens when food is shipped across oceans. Traditional macrobiotic principles suggest that our bodies are built to be in sync with our climate and eat the foods each season has to offer. It’s local. More of your money is going directly to farmers instead of transportation cost, fuel prices, processing etc. Also, you can be more sure of the...
Homemade power bars

Homemade power bars

Next October, I’ll run my first marathon. Yes, that’s 26.2 miles and four and a half hours (if I’m lucky) of pounding my legs on pavement. My poor feet, knees, ankles… all my joints. At least now I will be properly nourished during my training and the race. I have been wanting to make homemade power bars for a while, so here is my first, albeit successful shot at it. They have a great texture, aren’t overly sweet, and are FULL of healthy sugars, protein, and complex carbs to keep you going. Perfect to stash in your pocket on a long run or bike ride. Raw Fruit & Seed Bars Dry ingredients 3/4 C whole oats 1/4 C almond flour 4 Tbs flax meal 1/2 C raw sunflower seeds 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds 2 Tbs sesame seeds 1 C dried fruit (these ones are dried apples and cranberries) Wet ingredients 5 dates, chopped 1/4 C brown rice syrup 1/8 C molasses 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp nutmeg 1/2 tsp all spice Directions 1) Wash your hands (well, you will be using them). Line a shallow baking dish with parchment paper. 2) Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl. 3) In a small saucepan, put all wet ingredients together and let simmer for 5 minutes. This allows the dates and syrups to soften. 4) Add syrup mixture to dry mixture. You will probably want to dig in with your hands to make sure everything is smashed together. 5) Transfer to your baking dish and, with your hands (still sticky!), press down flat so everything...