South Carolina peaches will soon be available at my favorite store here in town,the Black Mountain Farmer’s Market. The purslane is already growing beautifully throughout the Dr. John Wilson Community Garden. I look forward to eating this soon and serving it at the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts wine tasting.
Purslane Salad with Broiled Peaches
This is one of my favorite summer lunches. Best eaten slowly,quietly and preferably sitting barefoot on a shady porch.
1 bunch of purslane coarsely chopped
1 peach per serving,cut in 1/8ths
salt and fresh ground pepper
Place the coarsely chopped purslane on a salad plate. Preheat the broiler. Place the cut peaches on a broiler safe pan and drizzle with olive oil. Place directly under broiler and broil until golden and glistening,with a little deep brown along the edges if you like. Arrange peach slices atop purslane and drizzle with more olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and a few twists of pepper.
*Purslane is a common weed in our gardens. This wonderful green leafy vegetable is very low in calories (just 16 kcal/100g) and fats;but is rich in dietary fiber,vitamins,and minerals.
Fresh leaves contain surprisingly more Omega-3 fatty acids (?-linolenic acid) than any other leafy vegetable plant. 100 grams of fresh purslane leaves provides about 350 mg of ?-linolenic acid. Research studies shows that consumption of foods rich in ?-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease,stroke,and help prevent development of ADHD,autism,and other developmental differences in children.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A,(1320 IU/100 g,provides 44% of RDA) one of the highest among green leafy vegetables. Vitamin A is a known powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for vision. This vitamin is also required to maintain healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin A is known to help to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
Purslane is also a rich source of vitamin C,and some B-complex vitamins like riboflavin,niacin,pyridoxine and carotenoids,as well as dietary minerals,such as iron,magnesium,calcium,potassium,and manganese.
The seventh year of the Seasonal School of Culinary Arts begins at Warren Wilson Campus July 15. I’ll be preparing a selection of divine accompaniments for an evening of wine tasting with a local vintner on Tuesday July 17th.
We’ll start with figs simmered in white wine,honey and thyme and stuffed with roasted almonds. Then we will move on to my favorite summer salad of purslane with broiled peaches. Next we’ll try wild rice pancakes with mushrooms and Looking Glass Creamery Chevre. Moving into the deep reds we’ll have lamb slow cooked with figs,oregano and dried limes. Finally we’ll complete our evening with raw cocoa and date truffles blended with a traditional cream ganache and rolled in cacao nibs.
To find out more about the school visit:School of Culinary Arts.
Despite being gluten free,this banana bread has a fine crumb and slices beautifully. It keeps well- but doesn’t last long. It makes a simple breakfast alongside a bowl of plain yogurt with cinnamon and honey. But it’s decadent enough to call dessert.
4 medium bananas (well-ripened,but not fermented–the bread is as good as your bananas)
1/2 cup coconut,sunflower or olive oil
1/2 cup Sucanat,Rapadura or Coconut Sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup flax meal (I use a coffee mill to fresh grind the seed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 Medjool dates
3 to 4 oz. dark chocolate–over 65%,broken into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly butter a loaf pan. Baking in stoneware makes for a lovely crust.
Mash the bananas and blend with the oil,vanilla and sugar. Sift together the dry ingredients and add to the wet,mixing until smooth. Stir in the
Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 60 minutes or until firm in the center.
Let cool slightly,then loosen the edges and invert onto a flat surface. Turn the loaf flat side down and cool completely on a wire rack.
When the frig is full of leftovers which I don’t want to go to waste,but I want something fresh and vibrant to pair with them I turn to salads like this one. You’ll want to have seconds and thirds,it’s so good.
It’s incredibly easy to make,and if you’re only reheating leftovers,the textural and aesthetic experience is worth the little bit of extra fuss to make the cuts as I describe them. But if you’re short on time,patience,or knife skills,just coarsely grate everything.
I encourage you to use organic,local or farmer’s market fruits and vegetables.
1 large carrot
1 medium beet
1/2 an apple–something with nuance like a Pink Lady or Honey Crisp
a handful of currants
pinch of salt
honey,agave or maple syrup
toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds
Scrub the carrot,peel the beet. Grate the carrot on the largest holes of your grater. Place in a large mixing bowl. Cut the rough top off the beet and place the flat end on your cutting board. Make paper thin slices of the beet. Then lay stacks of the thin cuts on your cutting board and cut across them in equally thin cuts,creating fine matchsticks. Add to the carrots. Cut the half of apple into four sections and then cut across each quarter,creating thin triangles of apple. Add to vegetables. Toss in the currants and a pinch of salt. (I like to use Celtic Sea Salt) Juice the lemon and strain. Pour over the vegetables. Drizzle a little sweetener to taste over the vegetables and toss. Serve with toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds to sprinkle on top. This salad keeps well and complements most any lunch or dinner.
This has to be the most lovely use of two highly underused and underrated ingredients:buckwheat flour and sunchokes. Their flavors are perfectly complimentary:earthy with sweet. This recipe is simply divine. Paired with a salad,early Spring dinner never tasted so good.
Be sure to start your crepe batter in the morning,or the previous evening. Soaking the buckwheat with an acid like vinegar or whey breaks down the phytic acid present in the grain. Predigesting the phytic acid improves your body’s ability to digest the grain and utilize the nutrients. Your crepes will improve in consistency as well–and the usual dry,coarseness of whole grain is transformed into a crepe with subtle flavor and the eggy,toothy bite of a gluten-filled white flour crepe.
This recipe was inspired by Vegetables and Vegetarian Cooking by Roz Denny and Christine Ingram.
For the crepes:
1.5 cups fresh ground buckwheat
1.5 cups water
1 Tbs. whey or apple cider vinegar
pinch of salt
For the filling:
1 pound Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes)
1 large shallot,or two small
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 Tbs. fresh snipped chives
1/4 cup butter
2 Tbs. sorghum flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 Tbs. half and half
3 oz. cheddar cheese
2 eggs separated
Make the crepe batter by blending the flour,water and whey or vinegar. Let sit 7 hours in a warm place,or overnight. Then add the eggs and salt and blend well. The batter should run from your whisk or immersion blender like heavy cream. If it’s too thick add more water.
I use a well seasoned,10 inch cast iron skillet to make crepes. I take a ladle-full–about 1/3 cup–of batter and pour it into the middle of the pan–which I’ve lightly brushed with butter. Using the back of the ladle,I gently swirl the batter from the center to the outsides of the pan,rotating in ever larger circles until the crepe has been spread thin. This has to be done in the first few seconds of cooking or the crepe will set. Cook about 1 to 2 minutes on medium heat,flip and cook 10 to 30 seconds on the second side.
Stack the crepes under a clean dish cloth as you make the rest. Once cool,left over crepes can be place in a large ziploc and refrigerated to be warmed for snacks and meals later in the week.
To make the filling,scrub and slice the sunchokes. Finely chop the shallot. Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the shallots and sunchokes,covered,over low heat for about 12 minutes,until very soft. Mash with the back of a wooden spoon. Season well with salt and pepper.
Stir the flour and baking powder together,then stir into the vegetables and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and beat in the cream,grated cheese,chives and nutmeg to taste. Cool slightly,then add the egg yolks.
Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks (while you can do this by hand,I recommend an immersion blender or KitchenAid Mixer for the job). Gently fold them into the sunchoke mixture.
Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch ovenproof dish and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Fold each pancake in four,hold the top open and spo0n the mixture into the center. Arrange the crepes in the prepared dish with the filling uppermost. Bake for about 15 minutes,until risen and golden brown.
Enjoy immediately with a salad of Spring greens,crumbled feta,sliced pears and avocado dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Yes, I’m spending my Friday night baking cake pops for my daughter Eden’s birthday slumber party. My mother gifted us these mail order,made in China gimmicks for eating cake. We’ve had them since Christmas. I am a no fuss cook. And these looked like a lot of fuss. Highly skeptical of their merit, with eyebrows raised, I put them up in storage.
But,of course, soon to be 10 year-olds do not forget about such things as cake pops and so I agreed to make them for the slumber party. With unusual forethought I planned to make them ahead, in case they were as I assumed,fussy. Picture it—two trays sandwiched together with heat proof clips,cake batter inside 18 little spheres (36 hemispheres between the two trays). I had many doubts.
Getting Ready to Bake the Cake Pops
The Cake Pop instructions said to use cake mix (strike two! on their way to storage). So I chose a recipe from The Moosewood Book of Desserts. Specifically the Festive Celebrations Cake, so I could use the egg whites I had in my frig from another baking project. That recipe makes cake for 50. Here’s the recipe adjusted to make 36 cake pops:
1 1/4 cups sugar (I always measure scant on sugar)
2 cups flour (I used whole wheat. I meant to buy white–in honor of all things fussy–at the store,but my subconscious must have revolted and picked up the whole wheat flour instead)
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup milk (I used buttermilk)
1/2 cup egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I make my own:4 vanilla bean pods chopped and soaked in 1 quart brandy for 6 weeks)
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer on low speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture. Add 1/4 cup of the milk and continue beating for another minute or so. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk together the rest of the milk, the egg whites and the vanilla. Pour 1/3 of the milk mixture at a time into the butter mixture, beating well and scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Spoon the batter into the greased cake pop cups. Fill evenly to the top edge. If you underfill they won’t rise enough to make a perfect sphere. If you overfill, the dough spooges through the air hole in the top pan–leaving your children with yummy tidbits to nibble when you pull them out of the oven. So I’d err on overfilling.
Put the top tray on, fasten with heatproof clips. Bake 18 to 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
Cool on racks for about 10 minutes and then remove the top tray. Loosen the balls in the bottom tray and temper some chocolate. This guy says it best, so if you don’t already know how to do this, check out his blog,Cooking for Engineers.
Dip the plastic lollipop sticks into your tempered chocolate and gently insert into your lovely cake balls. Let set. Then provide more tempered chocolate,sprinkles and what not for children to decorate.
Not nearly as fussy as I had presumed.
And the taste test (pre-slumber party):
The Papa. Final verdict:yum.
My daughter Eden and I gifted her friend Emma a cookie baking lesson at our house for her 9th birthday. Emma doesn’t eat wheat and so we’ll be adapting a favorite cookie recipe from my childhood today.
1/2 cup unsalted butter,softened
1 cup dark brown sugar (I usually use Sucanat)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (I make a blend of whatever flours I have on hand. Different flours produce different consistencies. Experiment,keep records,and determine which blend is your favorite. I generally blend together two of the following flours: sourghum,brown rice,teff,tapioca,millet or oat.
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
optional additions:1/2 cup grated coconut,1/2 cup to 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans,walnuts or sunflower seeds.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter two baking sheets;set aside.
2. Cream the butter and brown sugar in an electric mixer at medium speed until light,about 3 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla;continue to beat until the mixture is smooth. Meanwhile,sift the flour,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon and salt. Lower the mixer speed and add the dry ingredients,mixing just until blended. Stir in the chocolate,and coconut and nuts if desired.
3. Drop the dough by level tablespoons onto baking sheets,spacing them two inches apart (these cookies spread as they bake). Bake 8 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheets to firm up;then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store airtight,with wax paper between the layers. These cookies keep well for several days and make good lunchbox treats.
There are still three spots open in my next Cooking with Children class on March 10 from 1 to 5. Cost is $50. Sign your 10 to 13 year-old up today!
I had so much fun cooking with six children today at my first home cooking class for kids. Unfortunately,although I am a Goddess in the Kitchen,I am only “Techno Amish”as determined by technoNative and I failed to take any pictures.
Suffice it say,the children made chocolate mousse (learning the wonders of whipped egg whites),Creme Anglaise (learning the thickening powers of egg yolks),Gratin of Eggs (they all know how to make a white sauce now), and potstickers (which was a creative way to use all the very finely chopped vegetables they created practicing their new knife skills.)
We ended the four hour session feasting on our culinary creations and making a list of all the things they want to make next time. (I have enough ideas for at least four more four hour workshops).
Look for the next one in March!
I am hosting a cooking workshop for children ages 10 to 13 at my home on January 28 from 1 until 5. Children will learn basic knife skills,such as sharpening and caring for knives and proper (safe) cutting techniques. We’ll delve into the chemistry of food–making roux,beating egg whites,understanding risen breads versus flat breads. Class will also follow the experience level of the collective group and their individual curiosities. It will be a fun afternoon of play in the kitchen. To learn more,email me at email@example.com. There are still a few spots left.
I have been teaching cooking classes in schools for children and classes for adults since 2005. My middle child,Eden,had to make a traditional dish this week for her North Carolina Settler Project. She will be ten in February and it was really great to work side by side in the kitchen–her chopping mushrooms,me dicing the venison for her Traditional Scottish Venison Casserole. (Each student had to role play a North Carolina settler. Eden–because of our Scottish last name and the large migration of Scottish to the mountains of Western North Carolina–chose to be a Scottish girl.)
I have made many dishes with venison and this has to be the most delicious I’ve tried. This recipe came from, A Feast of Scotland by Janet Warren,a book I acquired while backpacking in Scotland in 1994. Casseroled Venison MacDuff To make the dish,Eden chopped one pound of mushrooms,while I diced four pounds of venison (any cut will do). We were making a large quantity,so you could of course reduce these quantities. Eden then sliced 1/2 a pound of bacon into small pieces and chopped one onion. In one large cast iron skillet I browned the venison in a half stick of butter. (We were reenacting traditional cooking methods here. If fat bothers you,make substitutions–but keep in mind,venison is LEAN and you need some fat in order to digest it.) In another large cast iron skillet,we sauteed the onions and bacon. When the fat had pulled from the bacon we stirred in about 1/3 of a cup of tapioca flour. We stirred in 2 cups of apple cider (you could use a dry red wine or port),a cup of stock,a handful of dried currants (you could use the more traditional cranberries (unsweetened),1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and fresh ground nutmeg,and salt and pepper to taste. Then we stirred in the mushrooms and onions. If the sauce is too thick,add more stock. Cover and simmer in a slow oven,300 degrees,for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. You may want to put a baking sheet or foil in the bottom of your oven to catch spills as the sauce bubbles.
We served this for a family meal with buttery noodles. A visiting four year-old,and our own six year-old son,ate three helpings each.
Last week our Kundalini Yoga Community celebrated one our local teachers 120th day of pregnancy. This is a special time to honor the mother and her journey as she welcomes a new life. We created a beautiful dais for her to rest upon,shared yoga and meditation and literally showered her with blessings and rose petals. Afterward we enjoyed Yogi Tea and my latest creative confection.
I based the recipe on one from the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts. I own a grain mill and grind my own millet and rice flours for my gluten free baking. I do not recommend using all rice flour,as I find it to have a strong flavor and texture when used exclusively.
2 cups mixed gluten free flours: sorghum flour,millet,sweet or brown rice or a store bought gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon xanthum gum
3/4 cup sucanat (or less if you prefer less of a dessert muffin)
2 teaspoons ground ginger (do not skimp here)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda,sifted
1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 fresh pears,peeled,cored and chopped into small pieces–a fine dice–around 1/4 inch cubes –particularly if you are making mini muffins as I did
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil the baking pan. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl,combine the wet ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir just until combined. Don’t overmix. Stir in the pears (Be sure to have them prepped before you add the wet to the dry as the baking soda begins working as soon as it contacts acidic liquids.) Pour the batter into a greased 8 or 9 inch square baking pan or one 12 cup or two 24 cup muffin pans. (I’m particularly fond of mini-muffins–and so are my children)
Bake 35-45 minutes for the cake or large muffins or 15 minutes for mini muffins (another reason I like them so much). Muffins are done when a toothpick or tester inserted into the center of the cake or a muffin comes out clean.