Last Saturday at Fiddleheads, the day before Christmas, was a festive day - genuinely festive, not the fake-festive we've become depressingly accustomed to this time of year. After the expected opening rush, business was steady but not overwhelming. Lacy and Monica both brought homemade cookies for staff to enjoy, and I put out jars of homemade jelly; the raspberry-ginger-lime variation was snapped up quickly. (I have no idea why it took me so long to realize that sharing the jelly with friends at the co-op is the perfect answer to the dilemma: "What am I supposed to do with all of this stuff? I hardly even eat bread anymore!") At closing time there was eggnog and more treats, plus several volunteers on hand to make the usual tasks more enjoyable - and get everyone the heck home in a reasonable amount of time. (FYI: I had to leave about then and didn't imbibe, so I have no idea if the eggnog was "spiked" or not.)
Ellen Anthony, the co-op's Bulk Dept manager (a.k.a. "Dr Bulk", a.k.a. "Goddess of Bulk") presented me with a substantial bundle that filled my hand, wrapped in wax paper. "It looks like a muffin but it's fruitcake," she said, as if that was all the explanation needed. Then she smiled her cheshire-cat smile and turned away without another word, like the Cheshire Cat himself. I looked down at the gift in my hand and thought "But, it does look like a muffin. How can it be fruitcake? Maybe she's teasing me."
In her usual way, and not for the first time, the Goddess had turned the most mundane thing into a source of fabulous mystery.
I waited until the next day to fully investigate that mystery: The muffin-fruitcake was very dense, a bit dry, pale yellow in color, not soaked in rum or sugar syrup. There were no pecans, no glace cherries, no citron; nothing in a frightening or unnatural shade of red or green. There were sunflower seeds, sunflower seeds, and chopped, dried fruits such as papaya and pineapple and cranberries - perhaps blueberries, as well? Treasures all found in the Bulk department, of course. And just enough batter to hold all those goodies together.
Ellen wrote: "I got the recipe from Laurie's friend Roland in 1999, and adapted to suit."
Ellen Anthony's Fruitcake with Dried Fruit, Almonds and Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Cream these in this order as usual:
1 lb room-temp. butter
2 c. sugar
6 egg yolks
1 T. warm water
1/4 c. Grand Marnier or cream or milk
3 c. all-purpose flour
2 c. sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
Mix dry stuff into wet, then fold in:
6 egg whites, beaten stiff
Mix into the batter with strong, clean hands:
1 lb. mixed cut up dried fruits (papaya, pineapple, blueberries, cranberries, currants, etc.)
1/2 lb. pumpkin seeds (See Note)
1/2 lb. slivered almonds
Spoon into a buttered baking pan: tube pan, jumbo muffin tins, whatever.
Smooth the top with wet hands or a spoon.The bigger the pan, the longer it will take to bake. Muffin size might be 1/2 hour or so; big tube pan an hour and a half.
Cool completely and then store in an airtight container. It's pretty dry, so within a few days recipe. Or soak with liquor and store in a tin.
Note (1/2/2012): Ellen wrote me back after the original post that the recipe should read "pumpkin seeds" not sunflower; the correction has been made. She also added, however that if she were to put in "sunnies" she would probably toast them first.
(Photo courtesy of Loretta McElwee and used by permission.)
When my friend and fellow co-op member Loretta McElwee passed along her friend Nat Hale's recipe to me a couple of weeks ago, I admit I wasn't particularly open-minded about it:
"Cheese, butter and rum with chard? Delicate, perfect-just-as-it-is-the-way-the-Universe-intended-it chard? Sacrilege, that's what it is."
Then she then made it herself and sent me the photos, such as the one above, and I decided that perhaps I could be seduced, after all. (Apparently I am easy, if not necessarily cheap. Or am I cheap but not easy? Just ask my friend Miss B.)
Loretta wrote in her email to me: "I made this twice - once with goat cheese, which I didn't care for, and once with Havarti which I loved!" Nat's recipe simply calls for "soft cheese" and he suggests a few options; so follow Loretta's lead in choosing one that you prefer. When I asked her about the butter, she thought that it could be omitted and olive oil used by itself without affecting the recipe. (I had no problem with the cheese and rum, but freaked over the butter? No, I don't understand it, either.)
Nat Hale's Swiss Chard with Soft Cheese, Balsamic and Rum
1 bunch swiss chard, any variety
2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic diced
1 cup white wine
1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp. spiced rum
2 tbsp. of soft cheese, such as goat cheese, or havarti
Wash the chard and separate the leaves from the stems. Tear the leaves into bit sized pieces and cut up the stems. In a deep skillet, heat the butter and olive oil. When butter melts, add garlic. Add wine and chard stems. Cover and cook on medium until stems are soft.
Add chard leaves. Cover and cook until the leaves have reduced in size and most of the liquid is evaporated. Stir occasionally; reduce the heat if you plan to leave unattended.
Add balsamic vinegar, spiced rum, and cheese. Cover until cheese melts. Serve.
A) What is the correct pronunciation of the word "Quinoa"?
3) "All I know is that when I tried to say it at the Christmas party,
everyone laughed at me. Since then I prefer to keep to myself."
4) "I have no idea what you're talking about. Is that some Native
American rock band?"
B) Well, what exactly IS quinoa?
1) "A seed of a plant that is a member of the goosefoot family, native
to South America. Humans have cultivated it as a food source for
over 3000 years. Did you know it's a great source of vegetable
protein and that the Aztecs....."
2) "Some sort of fluffy stuff my health-crazy spouse/significant other
keeps foisting on me. *sigh* The things I do for love."
3) "Enya's latest album?"
4) "If it's not a Native American rock band then I still have no idea
what the heck you're talking about."
If you're looking for the answers, go to the bottom of this article - or try Hari Krishna. (Yes, that was a shameless theft.)
Most of the references to quinoa I've seen refer to it as a grain. But according to this article(and if it's on Wikipedia you know it's got to be true, right?), quinoa is "a species of goosefoot...grown for it's edible grain-like seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family." *end horticulture lesson*
I'd never heard of it myself until just a few years ago; now it seems nearly everyone has heard of it, and for good reason. It's a source of vegetable protein (just how much, exactly, is under debate), gluten-free and easily digestible, making it a boon to the veganarian menu, and to anyone suffering celiac's disease (or related allergies). It's also quick and easy to make, ready in about 10-15 minutes on the stovetop compared to 30-45 minutes needed for brown rice or wheatberries. Even though it's not a "true grain" it can take the place of rice, etc at any meal. And it's extremely versatile: it's soft texture and bland flavor let the stronger ingredients shine in any dish. (I've had it for breakfast in place of oatmeal, which is carb-heavy and makes me a bit sleepy by lunchtime.)
If you're new to it and trying to find out how to make the most of it, the recipes available online are literally, countless; the problem is not finding a recipe, but choosing one. A few ideas to get you started:
Lemon Quinoa with Asparagus and Feta from the Cookthink website caught my eye almost immediately because of it's "sunny" quality and balance of flavors. Substitute 1/2 tea. dried in place of the 1 tea. fresh herb called for. Substituting fresh cilantro, flatleaf parsley or basil would give it a different character, I should think, but might be worth a try anyway.
Cooking Quinoa, as you might imagine from the name, has so many recipes I didn't know where to begin - until this recipe for Quinoa Chocolate Bars stopped me dead in my tracks. Yes, chocolate - real chocolate - plus coconut butter, almonds, a bit of salt. Some of the dried cherries or blueberries from our Bulk section would be amazing in these. A very informative website, hundreds of recipes, but lots of images and can be slow to load. (It seems to work better with Safari than Foxfire.)
What Would Cathy Eat? is one of my favorite go-to websites for recipes that are veganarian AND heart-healthy, which are not always the same things, as well as plain delicious. A few that are perfect for what it's in season and available at the co-op right now: Curried Quinoa with Cauliflower and Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Quinoa and Chickpeas. I've seen a lot of recipes online that use quinoa as a stuffing for all varieties of hard squash, so you can really give your imagination free play here.
Quinoa can also be sprouted as a microgreen; here's some instructions from yet another quinoa-dedicated website called (what else?) Quinoa Health Tips. (At this point, quinoa just might be more famous than the Beatles.)
Hopefully that will get you off and running if you're new to quinoa; if you were ahead of the curve and it's already a part of your menu, what are your favorite ways to use it? Share in the comments section here or drop me an email.
Answers To "The Quinoa Quiz":
A) #1. If you answered #2-4, do come to the Bulk Section of Fiddleheads where we will answer all your questions, and then some. And hopefully save you from embarrassment at your next party - just don't attempt to say "tumeric".
B) Also #1. If you said #3 or 4, then see answer to A (above) and get thyself down to the co-op. If you said #2 - we admire your dedication to your partner and your willingness to try new things. (That said, you probably deserve a little payback. Five words: Last Thanksgiving. Your Uncle Jack. 'nuff said.)
Joan Weigle, who staffs the Fiddleheads Membership Info Desk every Saturday, loves Lior Lev Secarz's Spicy Cranberry Chutney with Apricots and Pecans . This recipe blends fresh cranberries, heated in cider and pomegranate juice, dried apricots and toasted pecans, then seasoned with ginger, cinnamon, clove, fennel, orange zest, etc. to subtle and complex effects that Joan appreciates. She said that it won the day for her in a competition with her daughter to determine who made the better chutney.
Cost of fresh cranberries at Fiddleheads: $3.00/lb
Hearing your child admit for once that Mom/Dad is right: PRICELESS
In the last two years I have inexplicably gone from "I can't stand spicy food" to "You call that spicy?" So if you're going to label your recipe "spicy", you'd better bring it.
For a time I fancied it was a result of growing sophistication on my part, until a friend pointed out to me, "Don't you know that you lose taste buds as you age?" (Yes, but I forgotten - because I didn't yet conceptualize myself as "aging". But now I do. Thanks. And I'd been so happy in my little world of fragile illusions "Look, a unicorn...!")
When I made the first batch of this for myself, I had to make some small adjustments due to availability and budget. I used watered-down black current juice from the co-op, which I already had at home, in place of the apple cider and pomegranate juice called for in the original. Black current juice is fairly strongly-flavored; nonetheless he result was, for my palate, surprisingly bland. I couldn't even taste the pecans, except to as a bit of crunchy texture. Tasty, but hardly worth the trouble and expense over my regular cranberry sauce recipe. (Now if someone would like to make a batch and show me how to "do it right"? Meet me at Fiddleheads and I will be glad, unlike Joan's daughter, to be proven wrong.)
So for my version I've I doubled the spices, added a splash of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, and a dash of cayenne in addition to the original's versions spices. Pecans are replaced by the more strongly-flavored and economical walnuts and raisins are thrown in the mix. Finally a touch of maple syrup balances the acidic flavors. You'll want to let it "rest" for 48 hours in the fridge to allow the flavors to mellow and really come together: tangy but not sharp, slightly sweet without being sugary. It's only when each bite slides off your tongue at the last do the spices "announce" themselves.
Spicier Cranberry Chutney
(adapted from Lev Lior Sacarz's original)
1/2 medium or 1 small red onion, chopped fine
olive oil for skillet
1 tea. ground cinnamon
1 whole anise star, or 1/2 tea. either ground fennel or anise
1/2 - 1 tea. ground cardamon
1/4 tea. ground allspice
1/4 - 1/3 freshly grated ginger
1/4 tea. ground cayenne
1/2 cup black current juice
1/2 cup water
juice and pulp of two large oranges
12 ounces fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries
black pepper to taste
1/4 - 1/3 cup raisins
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/2 dried apricots, chopped into small dice (to prevent knife from sticking, coat with a very small amount of oil or other oil)
1/3 cup walnuts, toasted/dry-roasted, then coarsely chopped or broken
2 tea. finely grated fresh orange zest, or the same amount of dried orange peel in small pieces, soaked in tepid water until softened
2 T apple cider vinegar
7-10 tea. maple syrup or amber (neutral) agave syrup, or to taste
wheatberries, cooked (optional, see note below)
In a heated skilled with slightly amount of olive oil, saute the chopped onion on low heat until tender and translucent, stirring frequently to prevent sticking; do not allow to brown.
Combine spices, except pepper, with the current juice and water into a large saucepan; add the orange juice and pulp to the pan. If using dried orange zest rather than fresh, and it and the soaking water to the pan now. Bring just to boil, then add the fresh cranberries; allow to return to the boil, stirring frequently to prevent scorching, until cranberries begin to pop, about 5-7 minutes. Add a few rounds of cracked black pepper to taste. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. If you used whole anise stars, fish them out now before going on to the next step (unless pawing through a bowl of chunky burgundy chutney looking for chunks of barely-darker anise stars is your idea of a good time.)
In a bowl combine the dried fruits and the walnuts; if using fresh zest rather than dried, add it now. Add the cooked cranberry mixture to the bowl, and the apple cider vinegar. Add the sauteed chopped onion. Combine everything thoroughly, making sure fruits, nuts and onion are well-coated. Add the sweetener to taste, in increments, until satisfied, and adjust all seasonings to your liking. The taste at this point will probably be somewhat sharp.
Put into the refrigerator in a covered container, and allow to "rest" for at least 48 hours if possible; by then the flavors will have sufficiently "mellowed" and come together nicely.
Note: Cooked wheatberries stirred in any time after combining all other ingredients, even days later, add a chewy texture element. They also lend a heft that makes the chutney more substantive and filling; makes a nice breakfast or anytime treat.
It also solves the vexing question, "I got this because I'm trying to add whole grains to my diet but now what the heck do I DO with them?"
Back on December 14th I wrote up a plain-and-simple recipe for oven-roasted portabello caps with olive oil, salt and pepper. Last night for Christmas dinner I made something along the same theme, but a bit fancier: this time I mixed up a sauce of olive oil, vinegar, tumeric and spices, poured over the caps; then I topped them with chopped veggies, including shiitake mushroom caps and white button mushrooms (when it comes to the 'shroom, for me less is never more.) I added whatever I had at hand, such as tomato and spinach, then topped the caps with two kinds of cheeses. After the 'shrooms were tender and I had removed the pan from the oven, I reserved some of the pan juices as a salad dressing over deeply-colored red leaf lettuce.
This looks like a "recipe" but is really more of a "suggestion" I think, because I've done the same thing previously but with different sauces and spices, different veggies, etc. (Bell pepper of any color made an especially nice addition on another occasion; and I can imagine adding a little scoop of quinoa atop the caps, or served alongside.) To make this completely vegan, simply use a vegan cheese such as almond cheese, or omit altogether. In a prior version I also chopped some canadian bacon into small dice and added it atop the caps; tasty, but unnecessary. The only essential here is the portabello caps themselves, the meatiest of 'shrooms and the foundation of the "stack". Beyond that, make any substitutions that your fridge and your fancy will allow.
Portabello Mushroom Stacks with Tumeric Sauce
2 T olive oil, plus extra to coat baking dish
1-1/2 - 2 T "red" vinegar - red wine, apple cider; or balsamic
1/4 - 1/2 tea. ground tumeric
black pepper to taste
1/8 tea. or about a pinch of ground cayenne
1 medium-size garlic clove, crushed and finely minced
1-2 small scallions (green onions), or whatever green shoots happen to be sprouting out of your onion basket, chopped fine
2 portabello mushroom caps, stems removed, any surface dirt wiped off
veggies cut into very fine dice: carrot, shiitake mushroom caps (stems removed) and small or medium button mushrooms
1 small tomato, seeds and core removed, diced
baby spinach leaves, about 6 (or substitute 2 mature leaves)
parmesan or other hard cheese, grated
2 slices swiss cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F; coat baking dish (ceramic, glass or metal) with a thin film of olive oil. Combine the first five ingredients in a measuring cup, adjusting to your liking with each addition. Add the white and palest green parts of the scallions, reserving the darker greens for later. Emulsify well.
Pierce the portabello caps with a fork randomly, especially in the thick center part-way or all the way through; lay on baking dish gills-side up. Pour 1/3 - 1/2 of the sauce over the caps, then layer the various chopped veggies, including the reserved darker parts of the scallions, over the caps. (Of course some will spill off the sides. No worries.) Layer the spinach leaves atop the veggies, pour the remaining sauce over all of it.
Grate the parmesan over the stacks as much or as little as you wish; layer 1 slice of swiss cheese over each, grate on a bit more parmesan if you like, and finish of with a few more rounds or pinches of black pepper. Place the baking tray in the middle of the oven and bake until the very center of the mushroom are fork-tender all the way through; 9-12 minutes should do. Remove from oven and let sit a couple of minutes if you like to let the juices settle. Pour some of the juices over the stacks when serving, reserving the rest for salad dressing (below).
Salad dressing (optional): Let the remaining pan juices cool and crunchy bits cool a little, then emulsify with some tangy plain yogurt or keifer, a splash more vinegar or lemon juice, and seasonings (salt, pepper, etc) to taste.
You've been feeling your life is a little empty lately, as you wander about your apartment or home. (There's no shame in admitting it; we've all been there.) You've thought to yourself that you'd like a companion to always be there for you, but in non-human form. Sure, you could find yourself a lover or partner; perhaps you already have one. But you know that human beings are such a lot of bother.
So you've narrowed it down to two choices: keifer grains (pictured above), or a puppy (pictured below). Both require constant care and attention, both need food and fluids daily, both will grow and flourish under the proper conditions, and both have reputed health properties. To help you make an informed decision, we offer you some strictly nonscientific comparisons.
Round One: The Basics
KEIFER GRAINS: When put into milk, water, juice, coconut milk, etc, it will create a drinkable sour (milk grains) or acidic (water grains) product that repopulates your intestines with lots of healthy microflora, according to it's passionate adherents.
PUPPY: Will lick your face. Even if you're a jerk.
WINNER: Possibly a draw, depending on how flora-philic or germ-phobic you are.
Round Two: Noise
KEIFER GRAINS: None at all, until you're slurping the resultant beverage down; or the cussing that follows when your fridge is filling up, and you realize you can't drink it fast enough to keep up.
PUPPY: Count the nights your neighbor's dog has kept you up. You can't, can you? Exactly.
WINNER: Advantage keifer grains - unless you are entirely or functionally deaf. Then it's even either way.
Round Three: Cost
KEIFER GRAINS: Quite inexpensive for the grains themselves- until you realize you need to feed it EVERY 24 hours with 8oz milk per teaspoon grains. EVERY 24 hours. Which still ends up being cheaper than buying the stuff - we think.
PUPPY: You might save some money getting it from a pound, shelter, or rescuing it off the street - but you still have the shots, the exams, the collar, the food, the carrier, the bed, etc to deal with. And look out if Fluffy ever needs surgery, because your major medical ain't gonna cover that.
WINNER: Keifer grains.
Round Four: Letting Go, Or, After the Love is Gone
KEIFER GRAINS: Easy-peasy. Put grains in water and stick them in the fridge to remain dormant, or dry out the grains and reconstitute when you're ready to resume keifering. Worst comes to worst, chuck them into the compost bin and buy some more.
PUPPY: Extremely Difficult. Never mind losing a friend - if you have kids and you ever have to sell/give away dog for any reason, they will NEVER forgive you. Ever. Not until you hand them the keys to the brand new car you just bought them - maybe.
Round Five: The Cute Factor
KEIFER GRAINS: Resembles cottage cheese, not really cute per se until you look at it a while and realize, hey, it is kind of adorable in it's own way.
PUPPY: Are you kidding? We need to explain this one? You must be a cat person.
WINNER: No contest - and if you're spending that much time staring at your keifer grains, you clearly are in need of a little human companionship. We're worried for you.
Join us next time for another in our helpful comparisons: "So You're Having a Midlife Crisis? $3000 Food Processor, vs Convertible."
(Photo below courtesy of J. Holder - and yes, we know it's more of a dog than a puppy per se. We told you this was "unscientific", did we not? )
On Monday my friend Miss Bliss and I toddled over to Milford for a bit of shopping (somebody got her Xmas present early), and then stopped at Edge of the Woods Natural Marketplace ** on the west side of New Haven for more shopping and lunch. EOTW is that rarest of creatures, an independent, family-owned, urban grocery store that started life as a co-op in 1977. (We'll sidestep the politics of that for the moment, shall we?)
When I've mentioned EOTW to friends and acquaintances in our edge of the woods this week, none of them had heard of it, or they vaguely thought it a restaurant of some sort. I suppose I can understand why, as it's not in the trendy downtown area near Yale and the New Haven Green, the British Museum or either of the train stations. You have travel west on Whalley Avenue towards West Haven and Edgeville, in an area with a working-class and ethnic feel that is decidedly not "chic" in any way. It's a bit funky inside in the best sense of the word; think the original Wild Oats before it lost it lost it's charm. Their cafeteria/ready-to-eat area includes hotbar, salad bar, bakery and deli and made-to-order sandwich counter, all tucked off to the side of the store so as not to interfere with the shopping aisles. Beyond the cash register is a cozy little eating area that resembles a greenhouse. All of their offerings fall somewhere on the veganarian scale, including the made-to-order wraps. Everything is economically and sensibly priced, even for budget-conscious folks like Miss Bliss and myself. The old-fashioned bakery case is overstuffed with whole grain breads, a variety of muffins, cookies and cupcakes, all baked on premises. (I just stopped myself from buying a tiramisu cupcake or a fudge brownie, and instead chose a large double-chocolate cookie and an apple cinnamon muffin. Both items were labeled as vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free; Miss Bliss is on a strict diet at the moment and I didn't want her to feel deprived of something sweet.)
What a lunch it was! While my friend enjoyed a heap of roasted and well-seasoned mixed veggies (eggplant, mushrooms, squash and the like) with salad on the side, I was less disciplined. Root veggie pancakes, crisply browned on the outside and tender within, were dolloped with mixed-fruit sauce of stewed dried fruits such as apricots and blueberries - not your grandmama's latkes and applesauce. Then I helped myself to a portion of leek and butternut lasagna, blanketed with sweet, melting cheese. Baby spinach and red bell pepper slices added a contrast of color, texture and temperature; lastly some tender green peas because they were fresh, tender and, frankly, cute. That well-loaded plate of food, it should be pointed out, cost me $7 and change and was well worth every bite; my friend's more modest portion was about $3-something.
I was intrigued by the brussels sprout pate with walnuts and miso, available and priced by the pound in the deli case, but didn't buy any; I noticed that a few other people did, however.
My friend glanced skeptically at my loaded platter; I assured her that it was meant for two meals, with some to be saved for the drive back home to New London. I wish I could tell you that is exactly what I did do. But, I shouldn't like to compound falsehood atop of gluttony.
After I saw the brussels sprouts pate I was determined to find a recipe (my new-found love of sprouts is well-recorded here), but I kept coming up with versions that included horseradish, not a walnut or a spoonful of miso in sight. The nearest approximation is a roasted chestnut and sprout pate recipe posted just days ago on the Rocket and Roses (love the name) Vegan Kitchen blog from the UK. I'd replace the chestnuts with toasted walnuts from Fiddleheads, which have distinct flavor of their own I've come to appreciate in the last few years. (If the walnuts you buy taste bitter, it means they've gone rancid.) FYI: the "rapeseed oil" referred to in the recipe is what we call "canola oil" on this side of the pond.
As to the butternut and leek lasagna, there are so many variations on the internet that it's nearly absurd, with no way to tell which is "closest" to the EOTW version, other than knowing that what I ate did contain cheese and eggs. This vegan version from the blog Dinosaur Egg seems fairly simple to make and reasonably similar to what I had, sans the eggs but adding pine nuts. If pine nuts are unavailable or beyond your budget, once again walnuts make a very respectable substitute. There is also this version with shiitake mushrooms that sounds delicious if a bit more complicated and is neither vegan nor heart-healthy. (Why throw half-and-half in the blender with the butternut puree except for it's tongue-coating and artery-clogging properties? Broth and herbs would bring out the squash's natural flavor rather than masking it.)
I have no way of knowing who first created or published a recipe for butternut leek lasagna, when I see a recipe repeated so many times online with the some of the exact same wording, I suspect a chef, cook, blogger or cookbook author not getting proper credit.
**Full disclosure: I'm not employed by EOTW, not connected to the owners or employees by way of kinship or acquaintance, and am NOT receiving any gratituty or compensation for writing this. Not even a free brownie. Alas. Someday, gentle reader, I shall find a way to make a living from all of this, but until then....
(Photographs courtesy of Nancy Whitmarsh and used with permission.)
If Nancy Whitmarsh had sent me these photos and recipe for a vegan chocolate mousse using butternut squash (submitted to the Whole Foods website by "Laurie B") a year ago or even two months ago, I would have thought, "Weird, but interesting." Never mind that I've been making a vegan chocolate cake for quite some time using pureed summer squash (from a past year's garden). I had exactly that reaction two months ago when Carol Monnat told me that pumpkin and chocolate go together splendidly in desserts - which she then proved to me with her seasonal dark chocolate-pumpkin truffle.
So when I received this from Nancy last night, the pump was already primed, and all hesitation on my part vanished. I'll let Nancy tell the tale:
"My brother sent me this recipe for vegan chocolate mousse. It is from the Whole Foods Market website. It is vegan, no sugar, gluten free and super yummy! I made it for the first time today and can't believe that these ingredients made such a satisfyingly sweet dessert. I had a hard time finding canned pureed organic butternut squash, so I just bought a butternut squash, baked it and pureed it in my vitamix. Seems to have worked perfectly."
Note: If you haven't a Vitamix, any old blender will do.
Some recent links from 'round the 'net and on the Fiddleheads FB page:
Squash, Chickpea and Red Lentil Stew - Sioux Mackey found this hearty seasonal recipe on the Stronger Together Co-op website. Cilantro is used as garnish, not an integral ingredient, so no worries if you have to omit.
And speaking of cilantro: a lengthy discussionon a Chowhound forum re: substitutions for cilantro.
Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francis' original "Five Minute Artisan Bread" from 2007, on the Splendid Table website from NPR. (Lynne Rossetto Kasper, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways...)
Had you ever heard of pumpkin challah? I hadn't. Megan shows us how it's done at Simple Bites.
Possibly the simplest granola recipe I've ever come across: Five-Ingredient Granola with Fruit Butter from Marisa at Food in Jars.
For Your Health: The venerable Rodale Organization reports a recall on 41,000 pounds of Tyson beef - and we are not surprised.
Fiddleheads member, author and activist Mark Braunstein ** asked if I would share some recipes from his book, Sprout Garden (now in it's 7th printing, according to Mark) and Radical Vegetarianism (first published in 1981, it was revised in 2010 - dig the new cover art.) He's an authority on sprouts, microgreens, "live" food and veganism and a radical political activist.
Which, as it happens, I only discovered last night - and I met him over a year ago at the co-op. Definitely not the man who is going to trap you in a corner and whip out his book a moment's notice, or dazzle/exhaust you with his erudition.
Here's a recipe I was especially taken with, an easy and practical salad dressing that is simple to make and has all sorts of applications beyond the salad bowl. (If using a spoon as directed doesn't emulsify the ingredients to your liking, try using a whisk, a.k.a. my favorite "Weapon of Mass Emulsification".)
(Recipe and text below from Sprout Garden, 7th printing, copyright Mark Braunstein, 2011. Used with permission.)
This is the basic sauce for any need. Incredibly, adding water to tahini actually thickens it. Incredible or not, adding water [also] makes tahini more digestible. Unlike other sprout dressings, this one requires no blender.
2 parts tahini
1 part water
1 part lemon juice
Dried parsley (optional)
Combine first 3 ingredients in a bowl or jar, and stir vigorously with a spoon. Add parsley if desired.
Variation: Omit lemon juice and use 2 parts water instead.
**a.k.a. "The reason Fiddleheads Produce Dept. carries persimmons", a.k.a. "The dude who turned us all on to persimmons and ruined us for life.". Too long to fit on a marquee much less a book jacket either way.
/recipe-archive.htmlPrintable pdf files of the recipes on this blog can be found on our Recipe Archive Page.
Text and photos copyright 2011-2013 Janice Janostak unless otherwise noted. All rights reserved.