Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Put Your Best Fork Forward with Beans & Grain

National Nutrition Month 2017 encourages folks to prepare meals at home, using whole foods.  Cooking at home is satisfying and financially efficient.  It brings families together, with more balanced meals and less sodium than meals eaten away from home.  The delicious dinner of Brazilian Beans over Freekeh Pilaf made a delightful lunch (reheated) the next day.  

Brazilian Beans over Freekeh Pilaf

(Serves 4)

Saute peppers, celery, carrots and garlic in olive oil 5 minutes.
1/4 cup sweet red and orange peppers, seeded and diced
1/4 cup celery with leaves, diced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and diced
 2 tablespoon garlic, minced
 1 tablespoon olive oil

 Add spices.
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Add beans, broth and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil;  lower heat and cook until beans are soft.
2 cups vegetable broth, low sodium
1/2 cup dried black beans
1 bay leaf

Stir in molasses, tomatoes, paste and juice.  Heat and stir.
2 tablespoon tomato paste
4 teaspoon black strap molasses
1/3 cup grape tomatoes, diced
3 tablespoon orange juice
Serve beans with broth over pilaf.

Saute celery and garlic in oil 3 minutes.  Stir in spices and freekeh.  Saute 1 more minute.  Add broth, juice and apricots.  Bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.  Stir in ground almonds.  
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup celery, minced
2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon coriander
1/3 cup cracked freekeh
1 cup vegetable broth, low sodium
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup dried apricots, diced 
2 tablespoon ground almonds

Effortless Egg Salad

The hardest part of making egg salad may be peeling the eggs.  Eliminate that step by baking the eggs.  I break the eggs into a parchment paper lined pan and bake at 350 F. until the internal temperature reaches 160 F., for about 30 minutes.  This is not a good way to eat eggs with a fork, but a great way to cook the eggs to be chopped for salad.

This recipe featuring 1 dozen eggs is made with colorful vegetables.  The recipe features less mustard than many recipes, thus reducing the sodium.  To make less, simply cut the recipe in half.

Confetti Egg Salad

(Makes 1 quart)

To bake eggs, break into a parchment paper lined pan.  Bake at 350F until internal temperature reaches 160F, about 20 minutes.
1 dozen eggs
Remove eggs to a cooling rack.  Cool and chop.

Mince vegetables.
1/2 cup celery, minced
1/2 cup carrots, peeled and minced
3 tablespoon garlic scapes, minced
1/4 cup radishes, minced

Mix eggs and vegetables with mustard, mayonnaise and black pepper.
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

A 9 X 14 inch baking pan holds 1 dozen eggs. A 9 inch square pan holds 1/2 dozen eggs.
Free range chicken eggs featuring dark yolks, colorful garlic scapes and radishes are often found at the first of the season farmers markets.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Sample Whole Grains: Lemony Bulgur Muffins

These hearty muffins are mile high with just the right of sweetness. The recipe is from Specialty Food Magazine. While bulgur is quick cooking, I cooked the bulgur instead of soaking to prevent the crispy grains still prevalent in the original.  The red bulgur gave the muffins a visual boost.

Lemony Bulgur Muffins (Makes 12)
Bring water and bulgur to a boil in a small saucepan.  Lower heat, cover and simmer 12 minutes.  Drain excess water.  Remove to a bowl and cool. 
1 cup water
1/3 cup bulgur

In a small bowl or cup, combine raisins and lemon juice.
1/3 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoon lemon juice

In a 1 pint measuring cup, combine oil and yogurt.
3 ounce olive oil
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, flours, baking powder, and salt.  Add lemon zest.
1 ¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 ¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon & 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon zest
In bowl of electric mixer, mix egg and sugar.  Beat until fluffy.
½ cup sugar
1 egg
Add cooked bulgur.  Alternately add dry ingredients and liquid ingredients to mixing bowl, stirring just until mixed.  Stir in raisins.
Fill greased muffin tin with batter, each with ¼ cup & 1 tablespoon batter.  Bake at 375 F. for 23 minutes.  Cool in pan 5 minutes-then cool on rack.

Bulgur is a quick-cooking whole grain food eaten since Biblical times.  You've probably eaten it in tabbouleh.  It's also good in pilafs and as an ingredient similar to oatmeal in meatballs and baked goods.  It's a good source of fiber and iron.

Nuts for Heather Crosby's Mushroom Lasagna

When I was asked to share a recipe from Heather Crosby's book  YumUniverse: Pantry to Plate: Improvise Meals You Love—from What You Have!—Plant-Packed, Gluten-Free, Your Way, I asked for the Mushroom Sage Lasagna recipe.  I was a little overwhelmed when I read the steps, but the process wasn't as involved as I thought.  It had lots of nuts and lots of flavor.  Even my husbands' coworkers loved the final product.  Above is the food as I made it.  Below is Heather's recipe:

Mushroom & Sage Lasagna

Folks of all dietary inclinations love this comforting recipe.

8+ servings


·         ½ cup (70 g) raw, unsalted almonds

·         ¼ cup (25 g) raw, unsalted pecans

·         1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons unre ned coconut oil

·         1¼ teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste

·         Fresh-cracked black pepper

·         Pinch of fresh-ground nutmeg

·         3 large leaves kale, chopped into small pieces

·         One 9-ounce (255 g) package gluten-free lasagna noodles

·         2½ cups (340 g) cashews, soaked 4 to 6 hours, drained, and rinsed

·         1½ cups (360 ml) water

·         ½ cup (65 g) pine nuts, toasted

·         3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

·         5 to 6 sage leaves

·         1½ pounds (680 g) cremini mushrooms, sliced

·         2 large shallots, sliced or diced (about 1 cup/80 g)

·         1 tablespoon Sucanat or coconut palm sugar

·         2 to 3 tablespoons dry white wine (optional)

·         1 batch Maudie’s Tomato Sauce (page x), or two 24-ounce (680 g) jars pasta sauce


1.       Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). In a food processor, pulse together the almonds, pecans, 1 teaspoon of the oil, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, a few grinds of pepper, and the nutmeg until dusty. Add the kale and pulse 3 times.

2.       Prepare the noodles according to the box instructions—layer them in rows on sheets of parchment to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

3.       Make a cashew cream sauce by blending the cashews, water, pine nuts, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the sage until smooth; set aside.

4.       Place the remaining 2 teaspoons oil, the mushrooms, shallots, Sucanat, and a pinch of salt in a skillet heated to medium. Stir occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, until they caramelize and brown. Add the wine (if using), stir for 2 more minutes or until it cooks off, and remove from the heat.

5.       Add 3 spoonfuls of tomato sauce into a lasagna pan; spread it around and top with noodles side by side. Spread a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce and cashew cream sauce over the noodles. Sprinkle with the mushrooms, season the layer with a pinch of salt and fresh pepper, then top with another layer of noodles. Repeat these steps, seasoning each layer with a pinch of salt and pepper, until all the noodles, sauces, and mushrooms are used. Sprinkle with the almond-pecan-kale topping, cover with parchment, and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the parchment and bake 20 more minutes until bubbling.

Credit line: Recipe from YumUniverse Pantry to Plate  © Heather Crosby, 2017. Photographs copyright © Heather Crosby, 2017. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold. theexperimentpublishing.com

The book is forthcoming:  
YumUniverse Pantry to Plate
Improvise Meals You Love—from What You Have!—Plant-Packed, Gluten-Free, Your Way!
ISBN: 9781615193400
Publishing: May 16, 2017
Price: $24.95 US
Paperback: 320 pages