Turmeric and Ginger Harvest

I am honored to participate in the harvest and cooking of fresh, organic turmeric and ginger grown in a Vermont greenhouse.

May the fruits of the harvest inspire us to find balance during this fall equinox time. Equal day and equal night call for a pause, a moment to revel in what surrounds us, appreciate it for what it is, and reflect on what's working in our lives and what we could let go.

Let these traditional Indian recipes inspire you to support your digestive health and immunity with turmeric and ginger. I have learned how to prepare these dishes from Dr. Vasant Lad, director of the Ayurvedic Institutes in India and New Mexico.

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms. Clinical studies show that ginger consumption decreases arthritis pain and protects the liver from damage.

Turmeric: anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory curcumin, which helps to heal GI diseases such irritable bowel syndrome. It prevents cancer cells from growing new blood vessels to feed themselves and induces the death of existing cancer cells. It also breaks up accumulated amyloid plaque in the brain that’s related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Rajma

Rajma means red kidney beans in Hindi. This is an adaptation of a traditional Punjabi recipe. These rich and hearty legumes are high in iron and protein. They support gut health with their fiber content.

To pressure cook* the beans:

¾ cups rajma (red kidney beans)

1 ½ cups water

*If you do not have a pressure cooker, just soak the beans overnight and boil in water until tender, about 45 minutes.

For rajma recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric

  • 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic

  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder or 2 fresh chopped chilies

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

  • Salt to taste

Wash dried rajma under running cold water till water runs clear.

Soak them in enough water for at least 8 hours or overnight.

If using canned beans, there is no need to soak or pressure cook them. Just rinse under the water and use beans in the recipe

Pressure cooking beans: discard the soaking water and add rajma to the pressure cooker with 3 ½ cups of fresh water. Close the lid and put the top on. Cook on high for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the cover. After pressure cooking the rajma, they should be soft and some of them will open up. Discard any leftover water from pressure cooking.

To prepare the rajma, heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add bay leaf and saute for 30 seconds. Add chopped onions and salt. Cook the onions till they are light brown in color, about 5 minutes. Saute ginger, turmeric and garlic for a minute.

Add tomato. Mix well and let it cook till all the moisture is evaporated and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. do stir in between to make sure that it is not sticking to the pan. Add all spice powders. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the beans, cook for 10 more minutes, and enjoy over rice.

Aloo Saag

In Hindi, aloo means potatoes and saag means spinach. This classic side dish can also be made with kale or collard greens.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks

  • ½ tsp each: salt, cumin, and garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 2 cups spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes and spices. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan. Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken or cooked beans and rice.

Kitchari

Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. This is one kitchari recipe that is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.

Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice. Bring to a boil with 2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, with lid askew, for 30 minutes.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon each: mustard seed, cumin seed, cumin powder, coriander powder

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

When seeds start popping, turn off heat and slowly pour mixture into cooking rice.

You can add zucchini, summer squash, peas, cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus to the rice.

For the lentil dahl, rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

Add vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, collards, kale and spinach to the skillet. Add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix into the lentils, stir, and enjoy!

Birthday Cake Recipe from Morocco

My birthday is December 20th, which is very close to Winter Solstice. I honor this time of rest, darkness, short days and long nights. It feels like a privilege to be born at this time of year when so many cultures celebrate the little spark of light inside that keeps the soul alive and thriving throughout difficult times.

One thing that nourishes me during this time is preparing simple sweets that are both delicious and wholesome. This year, I made my own birthday cake, which was a delight.

I adapted this traditional North African recipe to include some Vermont ingredients. Try to make it at home! It would make a lovely addition to a holiday brunch or a New Year's party.

Lemon Rosewater Coconut Cake

For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) organic, unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups rice or millet flour
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
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For the glaze:

  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) organic, unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a cake pan with olive oil.

Place all cake ingredients in a blender or food processor in the order listed. Omit the zest and shredded coconut. Blend well.

Add in the zest and shredded coconut. Mix gently by hand. Pour into cake pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife tests clean when inserted.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to half the volume. This will take about five minutes. Set aside and spread over cake once it comes out of the oven.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes before slicing. Divine!

Baked Latkes

In honor of Hanukkah's beginning at sun down last night, I offer a lighter version of latkes with a few variations.

This festival of the Jewish tradition lasts for 8 nights and 8 days. The word 'hanukkah' means 'to dedicate', and honors the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

Many light candles in the evening and welcome in the light during this time when nights grow dark so early. Bring light and delight into your home with this delicious traditional dish.

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Latkes

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes, grated

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • Peel potatoes and grate coarsely.

You can either grate by hand or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Place grated potatoes in cold water until they are all grated. Drain the water and mix potatoes with all the other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with olive oil.

Place latkes on sheets and bake for 15 minutes.

Accompaniments: sour cream, sauerkraut, applesauce

Variations: use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes - in this case, omit the carrots. Add  1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and 1 carrot, grated

Freezable Meals

I so appreciate all who comment on these posts and make requests for more. Your feedback lets me know that this information is useful and allows me to learn how I can best be of service to you.

Thank you!

Based on requests, here are ideas for meals you can prepare in advance and freeze to have on hand in a pinch. Because we are pregnant, I am starting to freeze meals for the time after the birth. Whether or not you are expecting, this practice is a great way to incorporate healthy food into your diet no matter the circumstances.

Holiday time often gets full, and there's not always time to cook whole grains, mineral-rich vegetables, and nourishing proteins. By preparing this dishes ahead of time and enjoying them during the holidays, you will feel better, help ward off the cold and flu, and enjoy your down time more.

To start, get all the ingredients for two or three of these dishes. Have enough containers to store all the food in the freezer. Set aside two hours of time where you will not be interrupted, Invite a friend or a family member to cook with you if you like. Put on music and make it fun!

When you freeze, make appropriate portions. If a meal serves four and there are two of you, split it into two containers. Fill containers three quarters full so that they have room to expand once they freeze. Once you are done, label containers with the contents and date. I like using masking tape and a permanent marker.

Remember to make a list of what's in the freezer and tack it onto the fridge. This way, you will remember to eat these healthy delights! The night before you wan to eat them, remove from freezer and place in the fridge to thaw.

Chicken and Quinoa Soup

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 leek, chopped

  • 1 pound free-range chicken, with bones

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 2 cups chard or kale, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, oregano and salt

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • juice of 1 lemon to finish

In a soup pot, sauté onion and leek for 15 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Splash with apple cider vinegar.

Add the chicken and sauté on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 25 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and spices. Stir well. Add the chard, quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and stir in lemon juice.

Cool and store in portion-sized containers. This soup is a complete meal and serves four. 

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Chicken Breasts Baked in Rosemary Lemon Sauce

You will need:

  • 6 medium chicken breasts with skin

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup almond or cow milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken in an oiled baking dish.

Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over chicken.

Bake skin side up 25- 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Freeze with wild rice pilaf in labeled, portion-sized containers.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Onions, Almonds and Peas

You will need:

  • 1 cup wild rice blend

  • 1 ½ cups long grain brown rice

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 ½ cups peas, fresh or frozen

  • ½ cup organic almonds

Cook rice in 5 cups water or stock. Add a pinch of salt as rice cooks.

Meanwhile, chop onion and cook in olive oil in a deep skillet. Add water to prevent sticking. Add salt, pepper, coriander and mustard. Stir well, close with a lid, and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes, or until golden. Once rice is cooked and onion is golden, mix them together. Add peas and almonds. Stir well to incorporate. 

Freeze with chicken breasts.

Aloo Saag - India-Inspired Potatoes and Spinach

You will need:

  • 4 medium white or red potatoes, boiled until just fork tender

  • 2 teaspoons coriander

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 5 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

  • 1 pound fresh spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Boil the potatoes whole. Run them under cold water once they are cooked. Then, cut the potatoes into small wedges.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the potatoes and fry until they are golden brown, gently stirring often, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, until each handful is slightly wilted.

Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, stir in the salt and cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the liquid from the spinach has evaporated.

Serve with red lentils but freeze separately.

Red Lentils in a Spiced Sauce

You will need:

  • 2 cups cooked red lentils

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 1 bunch kale or collards, chopped

  • 1/3 cup olive or sunflower oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin and coriander powders

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • Salt to taste

Bring lentils to a boil with 4 cups water. Skim off any foam that rises to the top and then cook for 30 minutes, or until they are reduced to a soft paste.

Meanwhile, chop onions. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add the spices, stir and sauté on low heat for 2 minutes. Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes. Add lime juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop greens and ginger. Add to skillet. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom. Add the cooked red lentils and ½ cup water. Cover and cook for ½ hour more. 

Freeze separately from aloo saag. Reheat separately and serve together.

Mexico-Inspired Feast

As the weather starts warming slowly, I try to move my body more, breathe the fresh air even though it's cold, and eat more spicy food. Spice from the capsicum family (peppers and paprika) awakens the digestive system, accelerates the metabolism, and improves circulation.

I am inspired to share a Mexican-style meal, which reminds me of my visits to the Yucatan Peninsula. Every part of Mexico has its own regional cuisine. These dishes are familiar to me from my time in Chiapas.

Many of these ingredients, including garlic, cinnamon, and rice, have incredible healing properties.

With chills and weakness brought on by a cold, cinnamon's (cinnamomum sativum) anti-microbial activity stops the development of pathogenic bacteria. The active components in its essential oils warm the body. Try sprinkling it on buttered toast or adding it to applesauce.

Garlic, alium sativum, is one of nature's most powerful antibiotics. Its sulfur compounds reduce inflammation in the body. Effective in treating both viral and bacterial infections, fresh crushed garlic is a potent remedy. If your belly can tolerate it, mince or press 2 cloves of garlic, mix with 1/4 cup honey, and eat with toast or rice. You may also place a spoonful of fresh minced garlic in chicken soup.

Rice, oryza sativa, is the most common cereal grain world-wide. It is nourishing and soothing to a system that's depleted by cold and flu. It stops diarrhea, nourishes dehydrated tissues, and is one of the easiest grains to digest. When you are sick, make rice porridge with 1 cup rice and 3 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to ensure that you are getting sufficient electrolytes. You can season it with thyme and cinnamon if you like.

Shopping List

  • cornmeal (non-GMO if possible)

  • long grain brown rice

  • black beans - please soak overnight

  • eggs

  • sour cream

  • milk (almond or cow)

  • olive oil

  • apple cider vinegar

  • canned / jarred tomatoes

  • salt

  • cinnamon

  • cumin

  • coriander

  • oregano

  • red chile flakes

  • onions

  • garlic

  • carrots

  • lime

  • orange

  • spinach

  • mushrooms

  • fresh cilantro (optional)

Black Bean Stew

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, oregano and salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes (optional)

  • 1 cup cooked black beans

  • 2 cups water

  • juice of 1 orange

  • freshly chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.

Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top of the pot.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are tender but still well-formed.

Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Chop onions, garlic, and carrots.

Place in a stock pot with olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add spices and black beans. Stir well and sauté for 3 more minutes, or until you can smell the spices.

Add water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the juice of 1 orange. Stir well.

Turn off heat and enjoy with cooked rice and a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro if you like.

Cornmeal Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a glass baking dish (9x9 or so) with olive oil. Set aside.

Mince:

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion

Place these in a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Turn heat on high and then reduce to medium low once vegetables start to sizzle.

Add 1 teaspoon each: oregano, cumin, and coriander - mix well.

Splash with 1 tablespoon lime juice, stir once more, and cover.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 

Turn off heat, add 2 packed cups spinach, stir well, and spread into baking dish.

For the topping, whisk together these ingredients in the order listed:

  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (almond or cow)

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add a bit of water if the dough is too dry. You need to be able to handle it with your hands without it cracking or crumbling.

Shape dough into a flat disc and place over vegetables.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven and serve with sour cream chile sauce.

GET CREATIVE! Avoiding cream and cheese? Put a fried egg or braised cod on top.

Sour Cream Chile Sauce

In a serving bowl, mix:

  • 2 cups sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and chile flakes

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

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Naturally Sweet Pumpkin PIe

Pumpkins and sunflower seeds are traditional foods of those who are indigenous to the northeastern american continent.

They are wonderful sources of plant protein and are naturally sweet.

Try this recipe to enjoy a less heavy, rich version of pumpkin pie.

For the crust:

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup sunflower seed meal

  • 1 cup cornmeal

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons sunflower or grapeseed oil

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

For the filling:

  • 2 cups pumpkin purée

  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cloves, allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a pie plate with sunflower or grapeseed oil.
Grind sunflower seeds in an espresso beam or spice grinder.
Mix with all other crust ingredients and press into pie plate.

Mix all the filling ingredients together, spread them over the crust, and bake for 40 minutes.
Enjoy! This makes a great breakfast, too.

If you have leftover pumpkin, try making this Pumpkin Soup.

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Home-Made Pasta and Sauce

As the holidays approach, I think of cooking with my father and grandmother. Because I had the great privilege of being raised with food, I now make it my passion every day.

I like to make pasta with friends and family. With a bit of team effort, the process is more smooth and rewarding. Be patient, have fun, and remember that you can always roll out your dough again if the noodles are too sticky or crumbly. 

I have created a lot of different sauces to accompany home-made pasta. This is my current favorite.


CASHEW CREAM SAUCE

You will need:

  • 1 cup roasted, unsalted cashews - ground in a food processor

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, nutmeg, thyme

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 cup milk (almond, hemp, rice, or cow)

Whisk all ingredients together in a small pot.

Heat through and serve!

To thicken, cook it down on low heat for 15 minutes.

Get creative! Add crushed garlic, grated carrots, or a bunch of fresh, minced parsley.

Watch this video to see how it's done.


HOME-MADE PASTA DOUGH

You will need:

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup rye flour

  • 1 cup spelt flour

  • cornmeal for dusting

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons water

Prepare the dough by mixing everything but the egg in a large bowl. 

Make a well in the center, crack the eggs into it and whisk them together. Add oil and water and whisk a bit more. 

Then, slowly incorporate the flour into the the egg mixture. 

Once the dough is moist but not sticky (add another tablespoon of water if you need to), knead it a bit, but not too much. You want to develop the gluten but not over-work the dough, which makes it rubbery.

After kneading, shape it into a ball, place it in the bowl, and cover it with a cloth. Allow it to rest at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Now, you are ready to roll! 

Start by pulling off a piece of dough about the size of a golf ball. Flatten it into a rectangle. Either roll it out on a cutting board covered with cornmeal or use a pasta machine to flatten it.

If the dough starts to feel sticky, sprinkle with cornmeal. 

Once the dough is fairly thin (about 1/4 inch), run it through the cutting rollers on your pasta machine or loosely roll the pasta into a tube and dust it with cornmeal. Then, slice the rolls with a sharp knife.

This is a great moment for teamwork! Have people feeding the pasta through the machine, others who are catching it on the other side, still others who are checking on the sauces and water bubbling away on the stove.

Transfer the noodles to a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. You can hang them to dry and freeze them or throw them into salted boiling water to cook. Noodles are done when they float to the of the boiling water.

Enjoy with cashew cream sauce or make this wholesome 'no-mato' sauce if you can’t digest tomatoes.

You can also try your hand at spelt squash gnocchi

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Stuffed Cabbage Dumplings

By popular demand, here is my version of Holiskes, Galumpkies, or cabbage leaf dumplings, which came through to me from my Polish ancestry. I offer this recipe in tribute to my maternal grandfather, John Witkowski, whose life story and gifts are an inspiration to me.

STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice

  • Sea salt, to taste

  • 1 large head green cabbage, cored

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 medium yellow onions, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons red wine or apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: ground black pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano, thyme, coriander*

  • 2 cups whole peeled tomatoes with juice - if tomatoes cause ulcer or reflux, you can make this "no-mato" sauce recipe

  • 1 pound grass-fed, local ground turkey (substitute cooked kidney beans for vegan recipe)

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 1/4 cup raisins or prunes, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, ground black pepper, cumin, coriander, and paprika

*This Eastern European spice blend has the capacity to dispel the onset of a virus and expedite healing from the cold or flu.

Cook the rice in 1 cup water.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat; add cabbage, and cook, pulling off each outer leaf with tongs as it becomes tender, about 2 minutes per leaf. Transfer leaves to a baking sheet and continue until you have 20 leaves.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat; add onions and carrots, season with wine / vinegar, salt and spices.

Cook until just caramelized, about 15 minutes. Add a bit of water if the vegetables stick to the pan.

Add tomatoes, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until reduced, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In a bowl, combine turkey / beans, cooked rice, mustard, flax, raisins / prunes and spices. 

Place 2 spoonfuls of this mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, fold sides over filling, and then roll up. Transfer rolls, seam side down, to a glass baking dish. 

Pour tomato sauce over rolls; bake for 45 minutes. 

Enjoy and be well!

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First Harvest Time

Lammas, "Loaf Mass" - also known as Lughdnasah by Gaelic people - is the first harvest time, when agrarian people of the Northern hemisphere prepare fermented foods and enjoy the gifts of wheat, corn, beans, and summer squash.

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Try these recipes to include first harvest foods in your meals.


CRANBERRY BEAN AND CORN SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 pound cranberry beans

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 shallots, chopped

  • 2 ears fresh corn, shucked

  • 1 teaspoons thyme, de-stemmed

  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, de-stemmed

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans in cold water overnight or for 8 hours.

Then, bring beans and 8 cups water to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are tender - about 35 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove corn from ears and add to skillet.

Add thyme and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes more.

Let cool slightly; transfer to bowl with beans.

Toss with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!


CORN CAKES WITH FRESH HERB SPREAD

For the spread:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

Blend these together in a food processor. Set aside.

For the corn cakes:

  • 1/2 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal

  • 1/2 cup flour (wheat, spelt, or millet)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • 1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

  • 2 eggs OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much hot water

  • 3/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels - about 1 large cob

  • olive or sunflower oil for cooking

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, powder salt and paprika in a large bowl.

Make a well in the center, add butter, milk, eggs/flaxseed, and corn.

Whisk wet ingredients together briefly then incorpoate with dry ingredients.

Heat some olive or sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Pour small amounts of batter onto the skillet (about 1/4 cup per corn cake).

Cook until cakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve warm with a garnish of herb spread.

Spring Soups

Prepare these soups ahead so you can enjoy a simple meal when you get home after a long day in the green beauty of the blossoming world.

Spring Tomato Soup


You will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 potatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon each: rosemary and thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1 large can crushed tomatoes OR 1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop onions and garlic.
Add to a soup pot with olive oil.
Sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add carrot, potatoes, salt, rosemary and thyme.
Sauté for 10 more minutes, then add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.
Add 2 cups water.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, or until flavors have incorporated.
Blend with immersion blender if you prefer a creamier soup.
Enjoy! Garnish with unsweetened yogurt if you like.

Creamy Chervil Soup


inspired by Nadia Hassani

You will need:
6 ounces fresh chervil, stems and leaves separated1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
½ cup milk (cow, rice or almond)
2 egg yolks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


Bring chervil stems and stock to a simmer in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat
Simmer, covered, until stems are tender, about 10 minutes.
Strain stock, discarding stems; return to pan and keep warm.
Purée chervil leaves, milk, parsley, yolks, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.
Whisk in the broth until smooth.
Enjoy with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.


Carrot Soup with Herbed Yogurt


For the soup:
6 medium carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander
1/2 teaspoon each: turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the yogurt sauce:
¼ cup unsweetened, whole yogurt or soy yogurt
1 chive, minced
1 handful fresh parsley, minced
1 handful fresh basil, minced
pinch salt

For the soup: Put carrots, oil, water, and spices into a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid has evaporated and carrots are very soft, about 1/2 hour.

Purée carrot mixture with immersion blender and season to taste with salt and pepper. 
Serve with yogurt sauce.
To prepare the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
Serve a spoonful as garnish in each bowl of soup.

Picnic Time

As the weather gets warmer and the brilliant shades of green decorate the countryside, take time to sit outdoors and enjoy a meal. Bring your favorite foods, and remember to drink plenty of water.
Here are some recipe to inspire your next picnic.

Tahini Date Cookies

Tahini, roasted sesame seed butter, is one of the best vegan sources of calcium to promote healthy bones, teeth and heart.

You will need:
1/3 cup tahini
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup dates, chopped
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups oats
pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom
3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
In a food processor mix together the dates, water, tahini, and maple until creamy and blended.
Pour into a bowl and mix together with the oats, salt, spices and olive oil.
Scoop out spoonfuls of the batter on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, to desired crispness.

Tacos

This is a nourishing and creative way to enjoy a gluten-free feast and honor the gastronomic traditions of Central and South America.

For 6 people, you will need:
12 corn tortillas
1 cup queso fresco or any cheese you like
1 quart cooked beans -  I like pinto or black beans
2 fresh limes, cut into quarters
1 cup purple cabbage, shredded
salsa fresca 

To prepare salsa fresca, chop:
2 ripe tomatoes
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 handfuls cilantro or parsley if you prefer

In a bowl, mix these together with:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lime

Assemble tacos, drizzle with salsa, and enjoy!

Avocado Hummus

This Middle Eastern dish is full of vegan protein and fiber from the chickpeas and polyunsaturated fat from the avocados.

You will need:
1 ripe avocado, cut in half, skin and stone removed
One 14 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
One clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon tahiniJuice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, and cumin 
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
6 pieces of pita bread for serving

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.
Chill in the fridge for one hour before serving with pita bread.


Traditional Recipe Exchange

Spring Equinox, which falls around March 21st, has passed, and most traditional cultures have celebrated a time of rebirth. I honor the many traditions of spring and renewal that usher us into this profound and often abrupt transition between winter and spring.

Many spring traditions world-wide feature certain ingredients.
These are the traditional foods for Norooz, Persian New Year:
Sabzeh: lentil, barley or wheat sprouts growing in a dish, symbolizing renewal;
Samanu: a thick, sweet pudding made from wheat germ, symbolizing affluence;
Senjed: dried fruit of the lotus tree, symbolizing love;
Sir: garlic, symbolizing medicine;
Sib: apples, symbolizing health and beauty;
Somaq: sumac berries, symbolizing sunrise;
Serkeh: vinegar, symbolizing age and patience.

A traditional dinner for Norooz is Sabzi Polo Mahi, a rice dish with whitefish and green herbs like parsley, coriander, chives, dill, and fenugreek. Here is a Huffington Post article about Norooz.

Do you know a spring food tradition from your heritage?
Send me the recipe and its origin and I will send you my Italian traditional spring recipes in return!
Email your submission to lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com

Simplify

Spring is a great time to simplify your diet. Start enjoying seasonal spring food and try to include at least 7 sevings of fruits and vegetables in your daily intake. Focus on meals comprised of 2/3 vegetables, 1/3 protein, and 1/3 whole grains. 

For protein, choose pastured poultry and eggs, white fish, yogurt, hard cheeses and beans.

Enjoy whole grains such as millet, rice, buckwheat, bulghur (wheat), and amaranth.

Depending on where you live, spring vegetables can vary. Look for these foods as they become available locally. They are high in antioxidants and fiber. Many of them help renew the liver, flush out excess toxins, and digest fats more effectively: asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, burdock root, celery, chicory, chives, dandelion leaf and root, endive, fennel, nettles, parsley and spinach.

Incorporate more fruit into your diet! Try some of these delights: apples, dried apricots, blueberries, apples, oranges, and strawberries.

Health Benefits of Foods

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Millet: alkaline enough to balance body’s pH; nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins to support digestion and provide consistent energy.


Nettles: rich in chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids, tannins, plant acids and histamin, vitamins A, C, and many minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium.
Parsley: depurative, anti-dandruff, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, odontalgic, stomachic, and tonic. rich in Vitamin C to decrease inflammation, beta carotene to help prevent infection and strengthen immunity, and folic acid (B vitamin) to support cardiovascular health. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens as well as ease the burn of insect bites and stings.

Recipes

Millet squares
Soak ½ cup millet for 2 hours or so. Strain and rinse millet.
You can also cook without soaking. This process removes phytic acid, making millet more digestible.
Pour into a cooking pot with 2 cups water.
Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.
Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.
Grease a large glass baking dish (9x13) with vegetable oil. Turn on the broiler.
Pour millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly. Broil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and set.

GET CREATIVE! Toppings: fried eggs and spinach; scallions and sardines; artichoke spread and braised chicken; cumin-spiced pinto beans with roasted carrots; goat cheese and pesto

***
Eggs poached in beet greens

Take a bunch of beet greens, rinse them, and place them in a deep skillet with an inch of water at the bottom.
Bring to a boil, covered, and reduce to simmer.
Add salt and black pepper.
Crack four eggs on top of the beet greens. Place lid on skillet and angle it to leave enough of an opening for steam to escape.
Slowly poach the eggs on low heat for 5-6 minutes for soft yolks (8-9 minutes for hard yolks).
Meanwhile, chop a handful of each of these fresh herbs if you have them: mint, basil, parsley, cilantro.
Add fresh herbs on top of poaching eggs and steam briefly.
Remove each egg from the skillet with a slotted spatula and place on plates. 

GET CREATIVE! Serve with toast or quinoa; drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice; use as a topping for millet waffles.

***
Zuppa verde - Italian green vegetable soup
You will need:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely sliced
2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts finely sliced crosswise
4 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled, split, woody core removed, finely sliced
4 yellow or red potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced (optional)
6 cups water
Salt, thyme, and oregano to taste - about 1 teaspoon each
2 cups fresh green beans, tips snapped, cut crosswise into ½-inch lengths
3 small, firm zucchini, cut into ¼-inch slices

Place olive oil in a soup pot and heat gently. Add the onion and sauté for 15 minutes on medium heat.
Add leeks, celery, carrots, potatoes (if using), and zucchini. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add water and herbs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for about ½ hour.

Incorporate green beans and cook another 15 minutes until the beans are done but still a bit crunchy. Add a handful of freshly chopped basil and serve.

Resources:
Kushi, Michio. The Macrobiotic Way. Avery, 2004.
Pitchford, Paul. Healing With Whole Foods. North Atlantic Books, 2002.
Turner, Kristina. The Self-Healing Cookbook. Earthtone Press, 2002.

Heirloom Wheat

Can an Heirloom Grain Help Resolve Wheat Allergies?

According to research conducted on the ongoing hybridization of wheat and its effects on human digestion, "we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease." Alessio Fasano, medical director at the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, explains that wheat sensitivity is on the rise in the United States. One reason may be the continued breeding of wheat to increase production, making it genetically divergent from the wheat consumed two generations ago.

While the gluten-free products industry grows by millions each year, Vermont grain farmers like Ben Gleason continue to cultivate heirloom grains and artisan bakers tirelessly produce crunchy, hearty loaves from them. Cyrus Pringle, named after an Addison County farmer, is a hearty winter wheat strand that has not been hybridized since its initial cultivation in the mid 1800’s.

Could wheat-sensitive people digest Cyrus Pringle bread baked with a traditional French sourdough at Red Hen Baking? Randy George, the bakery’s founder and owner, has high hopes. The Gleasons’ grains are carefully monitored and ground in a stone mill on site to ensure freshness. Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm is so passionate about small-scale heirloom grain production that he wrote a book about it, which was released by Chelsea Green in 2013. in his 33 years of grain growing, Lazor realizes that “true wealth comes from the ability to feed ourselves from the land.”


Cacao for Health

Drinking Chocolate at Kakawa in Santa Fe, NM
When I think of chocolate, I picture rich and creamy dark chocolate bars from Equatorial climates all over the world. Chocolate makes a great addition to savory dishes as well, such as the mole poblano sauce I enjoyed at Jardin Escondido in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. 

As this precious fermented food becomes more globally available, I remember my grandfather, who only enjoyed chocolate once a year on Christmas day. When I savor cacao, I try to honor its source and all the work required to get it into my kitchen.


Mole Poblano 
Cacao beans, once harvested, fermented, and roasted, are a particularly potent source of healing antioxidants. Georgetown University studies have also shown that flavonols, antioxidants found in chocolate, help lower your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol. They ease inflammation and help prevent clotting and arterial plaque formation.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest level of cocoa flavonols and is the healthiest form of chocolate. Try to buy organic, Fair Trade–certified cocoa powder. Fair Trade certification aims to protect farmers in developing countries from exploitation by large corporations or from price fluctuations for commodity crops. In order to be Fair Trade–certified, companies are required to pay farmers a fair price for crops, enabling farmers to pay their workers a living wage, avoid using child labor and practice environmentally friendly farming methods.

Adding cocoa to savory dishes is a great way to get the benefits of chocolate without all the fat and sugar usually found in sweet chocolate-based treats.
Chocolate Chile Bread

Email lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com for recipes such as: Black Bean Cocoa Soup with Lime Zest; Mole; Chipotle Chicken Stew; Chocolate Chile Bread; Slow Cooker Posole.

Women in Food

March is Women's History Month, and I invite you to honor the role of women in food. How do you see this role in your life, family, and community?

Here are some accounts of women in food history from historian Alice Ross.

It has been suggested that the division of food responsibility was a consequence of women's limited mobility, resulting from childbearing and extended periods of childcare. In any case, their familiarity with plants and their own identification with creating new life (the male role having been as yet unrecognized) were undoubtedly factors in their monumental innovation, the formation of the first organized agriculture (c. 8000 B.C.E.). Women often cooked grains and vegetables, singing songs about the food as they prepared it as a way to bind family and community as well as pass on food preparation methods to children.

Evidence of the high regard women earned is reflected cross culturally in the stories of universal origin even up to and including subsequent patriarchal systems. For example, in ancient Greco-Roman mythology, the story of Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of agriculture and fertility, and her daughter Persephone (Proserpina) acknowledge women's responsibility for developing agriculture, the origin of growing seasons, and the agrarian skills that they taught people. In distant Mexico people worshipped Ceres' counterpart, the pre-Aztec Great Corn Mother known as Chicomecoatl; variants of her story abound. She is Earth Goddess who teaches how to grow food from her body. Often her body was sacrificed, as she demanded, so that her children could grow food on it. This is a constant reminder to her descendants to treat the land as their Mother.

Mardi Gras Foods

Dear Friends,
I just returned from New Orleans, where Carnival season is in full swing! Locals celebrate with music, dancing, parades, and, of course food.

This is the traditional time of feasting before the 40 days of lent and simple living, which lead up to Easter.

This year, Mardi Gras, which translates as 'Fat Tuesday', is March 4th.
Enjoy these healthy versions of celebratory foods and consider eating more simply for the days that follow. From a seasonal perspective, this practice is a wonderful way to prepare body, mind and spirit for spring, which makes its first appearance around spring equinox, March 21st.

Corn Bread

To prepare, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a square baking dish with oil and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour (rice, spelt, or millet)
1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make a well in the center and add:
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal soaked in 4 tablespoons water)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Whisk these together, then incorporate with dry ingredients until barely mixed.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Try it with molasses, black-eyed peas and greens for a complete meal.

***
Another classic recipe of coastal people who celebrate Mardi Gras is Jambalaya. This one-pot wonder often includes spicy sausage and seafood. Prepare it according to your palate and tradition.

Jambalaya

In a stock pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Brown 1 pound boneless chicken breasts on both sides, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Using the same pot, saute together for 10 minutes:

3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon gumbo file (made from sassafrass)
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, oregano

Add shrimp and/or andouille sausage if you like and cook until done, about 5 minutes.
Add cooked chicken.

Then, add 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup crushed tomatoes with juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup long-grain rice in 2 cups water.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil as rice is cooking to add flavor.

Serve jambalaya over rice and breathe in the amazing aromas of this traditional dish.




Spice Blends and Ingredient Substitutions

By popular request, here are some ideas to change how you cook!

Spice blends from Navdanya, Vandana Shiva's organic seed farm in Northern India:

Savory Masala:
Mixture of ground ginger, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric and fennel

Garam Masala:Mixture of 1 tsp. cardamom seeds, 1 Tbs. cumin seed, 1 Tbs. coriander seed, 2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves, and 1 tsp. nutmeg

Substitution ideas:

Ingredient: WHEAT FLOUR
Substitute: spelt flour (wheat-free) or half oat flour and half millet flour (gluten-free)

Ingredient: BUTTER
Substitute: Clarified butter, coconut oil, half and half clarified butter and olive oil

Ingredient: EGGS
Substitute: 1 mashed banana or 1/4 cup applesauce per egg (best for baked goods); 1 Tbs. agar flakes whisked into 1 Tbs. water and chilled for 5 minutes (for an egg white substitute), 1 Tbs. ground flaxseeds simmered in 3 Tbs. boiling water for 2 minutes.

Ingredient: OIL IN BAKED GOODS
Substitute: Applesauce, puréed bananas, puréed cooked prunes

Ingredient: COOKING OIL
Substitute: Vegetable stock, wine, vinegar

Ingredient: CREAM IN SOUP
Substitute: Vinegar or citrus juice thickened with puréed roasted red peppers, carrots, onions, garlic

International Dumplings

This is a rich and nurturing time of year where you can slow down, enjoy the company of friends and family, and prepare one of these delicious dishes.
Be well in the new year!

Golabki
From the Polish and Lithuanian traditions courtesy of Anjali Budreski

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound ground tukey, beef OR ¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head green cabbage

Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Sauté onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the meat or walnuts and sauté until cooked, about 15 minutes.
Add parsley, then take it off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, place the egg, the cooked rice, and the onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and set aside. Cut out the cores of the cabbages with a sharp knife and carefully pull off all the rest of the leaves, keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets you have to wrap up the filling.

Next, carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Take the reserved big outer leaves and lay them on the bottom of a casserole pan, let part of the leaves hang out the sides of the pan.
Put about 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of the cabbage and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in a casserole pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the Polish version, drizzle rolls with olive oil, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve with sour cream and applesauce.

For the Lithuanian version, pour tomato sauce over the rolls, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve.

***
Moon Pies
Adapted from an Amish recipe by Emily Hershberger

1 cup flour (spelt for a wheat-free dough or white rice for a gluten-free dough)
½ teaspoon each: allspice, cloves, cinnamon
Pinch salt
Mix these ingredients together. Then, add 2 Tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, hardened and diced into small cubes. Let the flour coat the cubes.

Slowly add enough cold water to make a dough. Place in fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the filling: 1 cup applesauce; raisins if desired.

Make golf-ball sized balls from the dough and then roll out each ball between 2 pieces of waxed paper.
Fill one ¼ of each circle of rolled dough with a spoonful of applesauce.
Fold over the dough into a half moon shape, pinch the edges closed, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until edges are browned. 


*** 
Rice Wrapper Rolls
Adapted from a Vietnamese recipe for Goi Cuon

8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
For the filling:
2 ounces thin rice noodles
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 carrots, grated

For the dipping sauce:
4 teaspoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 inches ginger root, minced
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts or cashews

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat.
In a row across the center, place a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and shredded carrots, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side.
Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper.
Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small pot, heat Tamari with 4 Tablespoons water, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and tamarind paste.
Add peanuts or cashews, turn off the heat, and serve as a dipping sauce alongside the rolls.

***
Padan Nasi
Sweet or savory dumplings I learned to make in Bedulu, Bali

You will need to set aside 1 cup cooked brown rice.

For savory dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
2 Tablespoons ume plum vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, turmeric root powder
Fresh green onions or chives, minced

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in toasted sesame seeds before serving.
These make a great appetizer!

For sweet dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
¼ cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in coconut before serving.
These make a delicious dessert or snack!

Favorite Holiday Recipes

It's time to gather in with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the season. Take this time to slow down and let thoughts of work and life responsibilities take the back burner. Nourish your own heart, hearth, and the seed of your deepest desires for the year to come.

These recipes have graced holiday tables in places where I have traveled.
Enjoy! I have put a healthy spin on each of these traditional dishes. 

Switzerland: Rosti

1 large yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of these seeds: coriander, caraway, fennel

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, chop onion. In a deep skillet, saute it on medium low heat, with spices and butter/coconut oil, for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet with butter/oil.

Add onions and spices to the grated potatoes. Mix well to incorporate.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and flatten with the back of a fork all around the perimeter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy with cooked winter greens, cranberry sauce and hard cheese as a holiday brunch!

***
Tuscany: Cranberry Hazelnut Farro Bread


1/2 cup cooked farro (spelt berries)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground into flour in a spice grinder


1½ cup flour (spelt or millet)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup dried cranberries
1¼ cups milk (almond or cow)
¼ cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook farro in twice as much water. Cook extra for a hearty winter dinner salad if you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix hazelnut meal, flour, spices and cranberries.

Make a well in the center and add milk, honey, oil, and eggs. Whisk these together, then incorporate into dry ingredients.

Fill loaf pan, bake for 35 minutes, and let stand to cool about 15 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board, slicing and serving.

***
Bali: Banana Pancakes


1¼ cups rice flour
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon each: cardamom and cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons rice syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rice or cow milk
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 medium very ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)

Mix flour, spices, and coconut in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and saute on medium heat in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Oil the skillet with coconut oil between round of cooking.

Serve with extra banana slices, a dollop of cashew butter and a garnish of shredded coconut.

***

New Mexico: Pinto Beans with Poached Eggs and Corn Tortillas

1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon each: cumin, oregano, paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 small green chiles (if desired)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
8 eggs
Fresh cilantro leaves and corn tortillas for serving

Drain and rinse the beans. Bring to a boil in a stock pot with in 3 times as much water. Cook on medium high for 25 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Rinse and drain again.

Meanwhile, chop all vegetables. Saute together in a wide, deep skillet on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add spices, reduce heat, and add beans once they are cooked.

Add 1 cup water and stir to incorporate.


Crack eggs in a circle over the surface of the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes.

Heat corn tortillas for 2 or 3 minutes in a 200 degree oven. Place 2 tortillas on each plate, cover with beans and eggs, and serve with a garnish of cilantro.

Do you have a food tradition that you love and appreciate? Research it, prepare it and serve it this holiday season. Email me and let me know how it turns out!