January – Winter Coconut Curry

January – Winter Coconut Curry

This simple curry dish is perfect for cold winter evenings, and quick enough for a mid-week dinner. Add chickpeas for a vegetarian version and leave out the chicken. I used leftover roast turkey breast and it was delicious.

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tsp. peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 2 – 3 tsp. Thai red curry paste (depending on how how you like your curry)
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 sweet potato, about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 celery root, about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 can unsweetened coconut milk – do not use lite coconut milk
  • 1 delicata squash (or other winter squash), about 1/2 lb. (250 g), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (12-mm) chunks
  • 1 chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 limes
  • 2 Tbs. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 chopped scallions, optional

Directions

1. In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute. Add the curry paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tamari, sweet potato and celery root and stir to combine. Reduce the heat to medium-low, pour in the coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add the delicata squash plus the cubed chicken breast and cook until the vegetables are just tender but not falling apart, another 10 to 15 minutes. If using leftover turkey, add at the last minute just to warm through.

2. Meanwhile, finely grate the zest from the limes, then cut each lime into wedges. Stir the lime zest into the vegetables.

3. Serve the vegetables immediately, sprinkled with the cilantro and scallions, topped with the lime wedges.

Serve with brown rice, brown rice noodles or just by itself…delicious, easy and satisfying.

This can be a phase 3 dinner.

Garlic, ginger, sweet potato (or yam), celery root, delicata squash

Are you familiar with celery root, sometimes called celeriac? It has a mild celery taste and is often pureed and mixed with mashed potatoes for a wonderful side dish in French cooking.

Celery Root or Celeriac

Sweet Potato and Celery Root with Garlic, Ginger, and Curry Paste

Winter Vegetable Coconut Curry

This recipe is adapted from on published on-line by Williams Sonoma.

December – Sugar, Wheat, Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol free January

December – Sugar, Wheat, Dairy, Caffeine, Alcohol free January

Will you join me for the challenge of 30 days of no sugar, wheat, caffeine, dairy or alcohol to kick off the new year? After the holidays I think many of us need to push the reset button.

Too severe? What about 30 days without sugar, or 30 days without alcohol? Cutting out any single one of those five items will give your body a break after the holidays. After all the wonderful rich food and wonderful wine, I crave things that are simple and fresh. We can be an on-line support system for each other.

My brother and sister-in-law introduced me to The Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy last spring. I had just returned from several fabulous vacations (Paris, Normandy, and a Caribbean cruise to top things off) to celebrate my retirement. Pastries, wine, French coffee, bread, desserts, rich cheeses…oh my! I had a wonderful time. But, there was a price to pay. Those foods took a toll on my health (I felt sluggish and tired all the time) plus I could not get my body into any article of clothing which was the least bit fitted. Have you been there? So last May I decided to take the challenge. It was rough for the first week, especially the no wine o’clock and no caffeine to jump start the day. But by the end of that first week I noticed I was sleeping better, and feeling more energized when I woke up in the morning. I was even in a better mood. After 30 days I had not only dropped those pounds but felt amazing. I normally eat a fairly healthy diet, avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates. But I am not stingy with the olive oil, drink wine and tea regularly, and love dairy products (especially my favorite goat cheese). This was definitely a re-set.

Ms. Pomroy is a fan of the slow cooker, myself not so much. But I found new ways to prepare food without the addition of a lot (or any) oil. There is a long list of whole grains, fruits and vegetables which are allowed. Although wheat is off the menu, you can eat sprouted wheat bread. I found a few brands that are delicious. 100% sprouted wheat is now my preferred bread and I have been experimenting with making sourdough bread with sprouted wheat flour. Some studies have said that sprouted wheat is metabolized more like a vegetable.

Our house in Oakland goes on the market January 28. The last 8 weeks have been spent packing, donating, discarding, and clearing. It’s a physically and emotionally draining experience to literally touch everything you own and make a decision about it. The boxes and furniture will go into storage temporarily and we will move into a furnished apartment for a few months. We are definitely downsizing. Our garage hasn’t been empty since we moved into this house 27 years ago. We have kept what we love and what we use weekly. It’s time for my interior to go through the same kind of conscious cleanse.

The Fast Metabolism Diet has three phases during each week. Phase 1 (Monday and Tuesday) favors complex carbohydrates and fruit plus lean protein, phase 2 (Wednesday and Thursday) is high protein and low carbohydrate, phase 3 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) is more generous with the addition of healthy fats and a balanced mix of carbohydrates and protein. I found it possible to eat in most restaurants on the weekend without breaking the diet. The phases are repeated for 4 weeks.

My friends and I are starting the program on January 8, Monday. That’s because I host an open house on New Year’s Day each year and we wanted to enjoy ourselves at the party. We will have a week to prepare and stock the appropriate foods. Stay tuned for menus, pictures and posts of our “adventure”. And let me know if you would like to join us for the 30 days.

 

December 2017 – In My Kitchen

December 2017 – In My Kitchen

We are leaving my current Oakland kitchen; this is likely the last IMK post from here. We have been packing and will  move out before the 26th (that is right…the day after Christmas) because they will be installing new flooring prior to the house going on the market.

The cupboards are emptying

I will be sad to leave this home of 28 years, but it is time.

The blog will continue from our temporary furnished rental home in the heart of Old Town Oakland, then on to a new kitchen sometime in the early spring. We plan to spend more time at our home on the coast and find a smaller place in Oakland where we can lock the door and go adventuring on a whim. But downsizing is a difficult transition both physically and emotionally. And downsizing this time of year has put me completely out of the Christmas spirit, especially when it comes to gift giving. We are donating 30 years of acquired stuff, things we didn’t really need. It is eye opening.

Only a small portion of what is being donated

So far we have taken dozens of boxes of books to the library, several car loads to Goodwill, and have a growing pile of trash to haul away. It definitely puts one off consumerism and into a minimalist mode.

I am determined to only keep what I truly love, and use the things I have.

There are a few new things in my kitchen though.

Heath Ceramics Salad Bowl

This lovely Heath Ceramics Salad Bowl was a birthday gift and I adore it. My older salad bowl was chipped with the glaze starting to wear off. I use this bowl almost daily, it is large enough to toss a meal sized salad.

I have been transferring bulbs from the garden to their new home a bit further north.

Transplanted Dutch Bearded Iris tubers

In doing so I have dug up a large number of Jerusalem artichokes, so many that I donated a huge shopping bag to the food bank.

Jerusalem artichokes

I am not sure that I want to plant them as they have been very invasive. But they were delicious in a dish I found on line for Jerusalem artichokes with saffron, chicken, and lemons. I added a few regular artichoke hearts for good measure. It was a big hit.

Roast artichokes, Jerusalem artichokes, and chicken with saffron and lemon.

They are also delicious simply roasted like a potato.

Roast Jerusalem artichokes

Between Halloween and Thanksgiving Trader Joe’s released this wonderful snacking trail mix. I am not a big fan of pumpkin pie flavored foods and these were quite good with lots of ginger to spice things up.

Trader Joe’s Harvest Spice Trail MixPlease bear with me through this transition. I will be back with more posts and more kitchens.

Please bear with me through this transition and keep viewing for glimpses of my new kitchens.

You can take a peak into other kitchens around the world by visiting Sherry at Sherry’s Pickings for more IMK posts. Add your own post by the 10th of this month.

I wish you all a wonderful holiday. May it be filled with joy, love, laughter, family and friends.

 

November – Happy Thanksgiving

November – Happy Thanksgiving

I want to wish all my readers a very Happy Thanksgiving.

My sous-vide turkey has been cooking away overnight, 12 hours for the dark meat and 8 for the white. Stay tuned, I will post the results and let you know how it turns out.

Sous vide turkey

When do we get our turkey dinner?

We are in the process of packing up the house in Oakland, plans are for it to go on the market in late January if we can complete all the work. You may have seen posts about the remodel and addition to our second home in Fort Bragg, CA. Soon it will become our first home although we plan to keep a smaller apartment or condo in the SF Bay Area. Downsizing is an emotional experience, I see the value of a minimalist lifestyle. After 27 years in this home we have accumulated way too much. And, if we couldn’t figure out what to do with it, we simply stashed it in our garage. Sooner or later you pay the price don’t you?

I will close with a couple of pictures from the coast near Fort Bragg.

From the secret beach

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Sunset

March – Roasted Cauliflower with Potatoes and Chickpeas

March – Roasted Cauliflower with Potatoes and Chickpeas

This is a recipe with history. The original inspiration was posted over 3 years ago by Selma from Selma’s Table, she won a Food 52 competition for the “Best One Pot Meal” with a recipe entitled Extraordinary Roast Chicken with Potatoes and Chickpeas. I have made Selma’s recipe several times, and highly recommend it. You can find her original recipe by clicking on the link here.

My vegetarian adaptation using cauliflower is a spin off from both the original and several posts by Elaine of the blog foodbod. The marinade has been around in the blogging community for some time, based on some of Elaine’s past dishes…roasted chickpeas and potatoes and cauliflower and chickpea magic, not to mention marinated cauliflower nirvana.  I have dubbed Elaine the “Queen of Roasting” because of the high quality of her recipes for roasted vegetables, it is definitely a blog to bookmark.

Marinated Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Potatoes

If you read Selma’s post, she was also inspired by Elaine, so we have come full circle.

My vegetarian version uses cauliflower, chickpeas, and potatoes. It is an excellent side dish to serve with roasted meat but can also stand alone as a vegetarian entree with a green vegetable or salad. My non-vegetarian family couldn’t keep their fingers out of the baking pan.

I am a big fan of toasty bits on potatoes and cauliflower, so I changed the original recipes a bit. I precooked the potatoes for a couple of minutes before adding them to the marinade (the softened and pre-cooked potatoes soaked up the flavors of the marinade), then roasted everything uncovered for the entire cooking period. The chickpeas became crisp and crunchy in the open pan, the potatoes and cauliflower were nicely browned around the edges.

Ingredients

  • 2 – 3 large russet or Idaho baking potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks about 1 1/2 inches
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 3 – 5 lemons, juiced
  • I head of garlic, cloves separated and pealed
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons of mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon of Harissa paste or other hot chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Fill a saucepan big enough to hold the potatoes with cool water, add a rounded teaspoon of salt. Add the potatoes to the saucepan as you peal and cut them to prevent discoloration.
  2. Bring the water with the potatoes to a boil over medium high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat slightly and cook for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander, shaking the pototes around to rough up the edges. Cool slightly. More information on the why here.
  3. Prepare a large baking sheet or baking pan by lining with aluminum foil.
  4. Preheat your oven to 435 degrees F.
  5. Prepare the marinade in a large bowl. Combine the lemon juice, olive oil, mayonnaise, Harissa paste, and tomato paste. Whisk to mix completely.
  6. Add the potatoes, cauliflower, garlic and drained chickpeas to the bowl with the marinade. Mix to coat.
  7. Spread everything out on the baking pan, all in one layer if possible.
  8. Transfer the pan to the hot oven and roast for about 40-50 minutes until everything has a slight char and is cooked through. If you think about it, you can turn the potatoes and cauliflower over after about 30 minutes to brown the other side.

Marinated Cauliflower, Potatoes, and Chickpeas

Thank you Elaine and Selma for this amazing recipe.

Marinated and Roasted Cauliflower, Chickpeas and Potatoes

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

August – Chard Wrapped Greek Pie

These wonderful savory cheesy treats are wrapped in chard leaves instead of pastry. Serve with a salad for lunch, or with some crisp toasts as an appetite teaser before dinner. You can make them ahead although they are better served warm. I recommend you assemble them and bake just before serving. The filling is made with yogurt, flavored with mint and basil. Served warm the pies are like a delicious fresh cheese.

The original idea came from an article in the NY Times food section. I modified the original recipe by using goat milk yogurt instead of cows milk, and basil instead of dill. Feel free to modify it back to the original.

The recipe is fashioned after a Greek pie which is wrapped in grape leaves, asmapita. According to Aglaia Kremezi, a well known Greed food writer, “pie” is the translation of the Greek term “pita” which can be used for al kinds of tarts and pies, whether or not they are wrapped in filo. I loved this low carbohydrate version.

Greek Pie Wrapped in Chard Leaves

  • 6 large chard leaves, washed, dried, ribs removed but left intact
  • 2 cups plain full-fat Greek yogurt, I used regular full fat goat milk yogurt and had to drain it
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil (or 2 teaspoons chopped dill)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal or rice flour
  • For garnish – a handful of lightly toasted pine nuts and Greek olives
Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

Greek Pies wrapped in Chard Leaves

  1. If using goat yogurt which is not Greek, drain the yogurt in a small mesh strainer for 2 hours before starting. This is not necessary if you are using regular full fat Greek yogurt.
  2. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the stems from the chard leaves and blanch them in the boiling water for 1 minute. Drain and rinse with cool water, squeeze dry gently.
  3. Put the yogurt in a mixing bowl and season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Mix in the garlic, scallions, mint, basil (or dill), 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the lemon zest and cornmeal (or rice flour).
  4. Brush 6 1-cup ramekins with olive oil. Line each ramekin with a chard leaf, allowing the edges to drape over the edge. Fill each leaf with 1/2 cup o the yogurt mixture. Fold the edges of the chard leaf back over the top and brush with olive oil. Place the ramekins on a baking dish.
  5. Bake 20 minutes.
  6. Let cool slightly, then turn ramekins over onto a plate to unmold.
  7. To serve, unfold the top to expose the filling and garnish with pine nuts and additional chopped herbs.

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

    Chard Wrapped Greek Pies

August in the Kitchen

August in the Kitchen

Hello everyone, no I haven’t dropped off the planet. I’ve just been taking a break and will be back in early September. I’ve missed everyone and am looking forward to catching up with your adventures from the last couple of months.

This summer has been a busy one with travel for work and business, I’ve been to the East coast of the US (three times) plus up and down the West coast from Seattle to San Diego (even more times).

In addition, Northern California has been hot and dry, AND no one in the San Francisco bay area has air conditioning. We’ve been seeing movies for the cool theaters! It’s not weather that makes me eager to spend much time in my own kitchen.

IMG_3499

It does make me hungry for fresh fruit, sliced tomatoes, good bread, and local cheese (if anything at all). But, they don’t seem very interesting to blog about.

Heirloom and dry farmed tomatoes

Heirloom and dry farmed tomatoes

I will miss those tomatoes but am looking forward to fall’s cooler weather.

Farmer's Market Corn

Farmer’s Market Corn

Look for more posts starting in September. Let  me know how your summer (or winter) has been going. Were you able to take a break?