Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)

photo of kabocha squash-red lentil curry in white bowl on purple placemat on the dinner table

Community cookoffs are a delicious way to bring people together!

It’s almost time again for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) Annual Community Cookoff! This year’s theme is “Oodles of Noodles” and will be held on Sunday, September 23, 2018 from 2-4 pm at the Brew & Brew. It will be a celebration of carbs and the recipes of many chefs working hard to please your palate!

This year’s cookoff motivated me to post about last year’s AFBA 2017 Collossal Curry Cookoff. As a brand new member of the AFBA, I decided to enter my Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry in the cookoff. I was a bit scared, but I thought it would be a good way to meet my fellow AFBA members and showcase the type of food that I cook.

Curries don’t have to be hot to be flavorful, aromatic, and delicious!

I was excited for people to try my vegan curry which was not at all hot and spicy. I wanted to make the curry flavorful (with sweet kabocha squash, fennel, sweet potato, and curry leaves) and spicy rather than hot (with ginger, garlic, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cinnamon). I also used red lentils to give the curry great body, flavor, and texture. Yum!

fresh ginger and bowl of spices for Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry

Kabocha Squash and Red Lentil Curry (V, GF)
 
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Author:
Serves: 2 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 cup sweet onion, finely diced
  • ½ cup carrot, finely diced
  • ½ cup celery, finely diced
  • 2 fronds fresh curry leaves, chiffonade or 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 cup sweet potato, small dice
  • 1 cup fennel bulb, small dice
  • 2 cups kabocha or butternut squash, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups filtered or spring water
  • 1 teaspoon tamari, or to taste (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar, or to taste (optional)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade
  • lemon or lime wedges, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Rinse red lentils several times and soak in a bowl with water for about an hour.
  2. Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot on medium heat. When hot, add coconut oil, onion, and pinch of sea salt. Sauté on medium heat until soft.
  3. Add the carrot, celery, curry leaves or bay leaf, ginger, and garlic and sauté on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Stir in powdered spices.
  4. Add the chopped sweet potato, fennel, squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 4 minutes.
  5. Drain red lentils and add them to the vegetable sauté. Add water, bring to a boil, then turn to low and simmer until lentils and vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in coconut milk. Season with tamari and ume vinegar (or sea salt). Heat until simmering.
  7. Add fresh herbs and turn off heat.
  8. Serve on top of rice with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice.

3rd place finish!

After a few hours of curry tasting and ballot casting, I was thrilled to get a 3rd place finish, and went home with various gift cards and goodies from local businesses. It ended up being such a fun day!

I hope you’ll try making this recipe when you are in the mood for something sweet, savory, and nourishing. It is delicious with basmati rice and a crisp green side salad. I also add baby spinach when warming up leftovers to give it some freshness.

Sign up for this year’s cookoff!

And by the way, get your tickets here for the 2018 AFBA Oodles of Noodles cookoff on September 23rd. It will be an experience to remember!

Please let me know if you’d like to chat about cooking lessons, corporate team building, dinner parties, or yoga retreat catering. My public group cooking classes are listed here.

Baked Wild Salmon with Rosemary and Garlic

photo of baked wild salmon with rosemary and garlic

Baked Wild Salmon with Fresh Rosemary and Garlic is my go-to recipe for dinner parties and weeknight meals, as it is both easy to prepare and kind of gourmet. Make some basmati or jasmine rice, some vegetables and/or a salad to go with the salmon and you’ve got a complete meal! Besides being more flavorful and fresh-tasting than farm-raised varieties, wild salmon has a lot of health benefits because it contains vitamin B12, taurine, selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin D, and is high in protein.

Bake wild salmon at lower temperature to avoid drying out

My favorite way to make wild-caught salmon (like Coho or Sockeye) is to drizzle with olive oil and sea salt, then bake it at low temperature (about 320° F) until just barely cooked through (about 10-12 minutes for a 1-lb fillet). Wild salmon is lower in fat than farm-raised salmon (such as Atlantic or Norwegian) and seems to stay moisture by baking at lower temperature rather than roasting or grilling.

Wild salmon keeps well for 2-3 days in the refrigerator

Make a little extra wild salmon so that you can use it the next few days to top salads or add to homemade sushi rolls. Store in a covered glass container in the refrigerator so that it will stay fresh. As long as the fish has been salted, it should stay fresh for up to 2-3 days depending on the temperature of your refrigerator. Just check the salmon before you use it to make sure it still smells fresh (should not be overly fishy or bad smelling).

Use different toppings on wild salmon for variety

This recipe tops the wild salmon with sautéed garlic, rosemary, maple syrup, and sea salt. Get creative and use different toppings the next time you make salmon. Try making a fresh basil pesto (I make mine without cheese) and spread on the wild salmon after it is baked. Another super delicious topping is a “sesame butter” from The New Basics Cookbook which has toasted sesame seeds, sesame oil, unsalted butter, tamari or soy sauce, and scallion. What other toppings have you tried?

5.0 from 1 reviews
Baked Wild Salmon with Rosemary and Garlic
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entrée
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
Salmon
  • 1 lb. fillet wild-caught salmon (such as coho or sockeye)
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • unrefined sea salt
Topping
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
  • a few pinches unrefined sea salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 320° F.
  2. Prepare topping ingredients first so it can be cooked while salmon is baking.
  3. Keep skin on salmon. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel.
  4. Place salmon fillet in glass or metal baking dish.
  5. Coat both sides of salmon with a thin layer of olive oil, then sprinkle both sides with sea salt (about a teaspoon).
  6. Bake until white albumin protein show on the outside of the fish, or until cooked almost through when flaked with a fork.
  7. Remove from the oven and cover with foil until topping is ready.
  8. While salmon is baking, prepare topping.
  9. Heat up olive oil in a heavy-bottomed, small skillet or saucepan until shimmery. Turn to low and add garlic, rosemary, and sea salt. When garlic softens, turn off heat and add maple syrup. Whisk to combine and pour over cooked salmon. Return to the oven, if desired, for a minute or two or serve as is.

Watch this how-to video I made with Dr. Jonathan Shultz of Family First Chiropractic (Austin, TX) about making Baked Wild Salmon with Fresh Rosemary and Garlic:

Baked Salmon Video

 

Related recipes on my blog:

Crusted halibut with caper white wine sauce

 

Upcoming Classes and Workshops:

I’m teaching the kids’ cooking classes at Con’ Olio Oils and Vinegars shop in the Arboretum (NW Austin) this summer! Please check out the schedule here.

For the schedule of classes at my home in SW Austin, click here.

For private and group classes, click here.

Corporate team building workshops centered around cooking and wellness:

Check out my web site for corporate team building and contact me if you have a group interested in doing a workshop with me!

Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (V, GF, soy-free)

Asian mushroom lettuce wraps are the perfect start to an Asian-themed meal or any plant-based gathering. I brought these to a potluck last week held in honor of a friend visiting from Asheville. By the end of dinner, all that was left was one lonely lettuce leaf!

I wanted to make these lettuce wraps healthier than the restaurant variety, so added more vegetables, and left out the soy, sugar, and gluten! Instead of soy sauce or tamari I used Coco Aminos (I like the Big Tree Farms brand) which is naturally sweet and savory. If you like your filling a little sweeter, you can always add a dash of maple syrup or agave, but you probably won’t need to.

 

Asian Mushroom Lettuce Wraps (V, GF)
 
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This recipes is a vegan, gluten-free version of Chicken Lettuce Wraps served at Asian restaurants.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian, Vegetarian
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons untoasted sesame oil
  • ½ cup leek, spring onion, or sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 3 cups mushrooms (crimini, shiitake, and/or oyster), thinly sliced
  • 1 cup carrots, small dice
  • 1 cup zucchini, small dice
  • ½ cup water chestnuts or celery, finely chopped or sliced
  • ½ cup bamboo shoots, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1½ teaspoons brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos (Big Tree Farm brand recommended)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 head green or red leaf lettuce, butter lettuce, or Romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Heat large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Make sure all ingredients are prepped so they can be added to the pan quickly. Add sesame oil and swirl to coat pan.
  2. Add onion, garlic, ginger, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for about a minute. Reduce heat a bit to prevent burning.
  3. Add carrots, zucchini, and another pinch of salt and sauté a few minutes more.
  4. Add mushrooms and sauté until mushrooms are cooked through.
  5. Add water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.
  6. Season with brown rice vinegar, coconut aminos, and sea salt (to taste).
  7. Put mushroom filling into a serving bowl in the middle of a large plate or platter. Garnish with cilantro and green onion. Place lettuce leaves around the bowl or on a separate plate. To serve, take a lettuce leaf, place a spoonful or two of mushroom filling onto the leaf, and eat like a taco.
Variations
  1. For a heartier appetizer or main dish, add ½ lb. cooked chicken thigh cut into bite-sized pieces. Adjust seasonings.

 

Chef Rachel Zierzow is available for group classes, private dinners, and corporate team building sessions. Contact her below to find out more.

Homemade Chickpeas

Homemade chickpeas are a must for making hummus, chickpea soup, or anything else you love to make with chickpeas. I like to make chickpeas in a pressure cooker because they get softer than when boiled, and they cook much faster than boiling. But I included instructions for either method.

Make sure to keep plenty of dry chickpeas on hand so that you can soak some the night before you are going to cook them. When chickpeas are rehydrated, you can cook them right away or hold in the refrigerator until ready to cook.

Homemade Chickpeas
 
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Although this recipe calls for 1 cup dry chickpeas, I recommend making at least a triple batch so that you have enough chickpeas to make a big batch of soup to share with friends, or so that you can freeze some away to use for recipes later on.
Author:
Serves: 3 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dry chickpeas
  • spring or filtered water
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
  • 1-inch piece kombu
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse chickpeas and place in glass bowl. Cover with water about 1-2 inches above the chickpeas and soak overnight.
  2. Drain the chickpeas and place in a pressure cooker with enough fresh water to cover 2 inches above the beans.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes uncovered. Skim off foam that collects on the surface with fine mesh simmer.
  4. Add garlic and kombu. Place lid on the pressure cooker and allow to come up to pressure. If there is more than one setting on the pressure cooker, use the lower pressure setting to avoid having chickpeas break apart. Turn heat down to low, and cook chickpeas for 18 minutes.
  5. Remove pressure cooker from heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. Once the lid has unlocked, add sea salt and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes.
Notes:
  1. If you do not have a pressure cooker, simmer beans for 90 minutes, or until beans are soft but not falling part. Then add sea salt and simmer a few minutes more.
  2. If you cannot find kombu sea vegetable, you can use a bay leaf instead. I like to use Atlantic kombu from Ironbound Island Seaweed which is locally available at Wheatsville Coop.

 

Cecilia’s Pozole Verde

pozole verde

Mmm… Posole soup! Cecilia Torres, my friend and former student, sent me this recipe for Pozole Verde after returning home to León, Mexico this winter. Upon finishing her culinary studies at The Natural Epicurean, she got right back to work cooking amazing things in her kitchen, including the creation of authentic Mexican versions of recipes we did in class. They are all incredibly beautiful! Be sure to check out Cecilia’s food pictures on Instagram.

Pozole or posole refers to the large type of corn as well as the soup made with it. Perhaps you are familiar with pork or chicken-based pozole soups that are stewed for a whole day or two. This version is much fresher, greener, and gets its flavor from the poszole corn and the delicious verde sauce made with roasted poblanos, tomatillos, and lettuce. Flavorful ingredients are made fresh to top the soup with, making it fun for kids of all ages to customize their own bowls.

Cecilia's Pozole Verde
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Soup
Cuisine: Mexican
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Soup
  • 4 cups pozole corn, soaked overnight
  • 4 cups vegetable stock or filtered water, or more as needed
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 roasted poblano peppers, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 2 pounds green tomatillo, chopped in halves or quarters
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 or 2 xoconostles, peeled and seeded (optional)
  • reserved pozole cooking liquid
  • vegetable stock or filtered water, as needed
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
Toppings
  • cooked pozole (see instructions above)
  • 3 cups mushrooms, sliced and sautéed
  • ½ head iceberg or romaine lettuce, shredded
  • ½ bunch red radishes, julienned
  • ½ yellow or white onion, minced
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • ½ bunch cilantro leaves
  • 4 limes, sliced into wedges
Instructions
  1. Cook pozole in water or vegetables stock until soft, 60-90 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid for soup base. Set aside.
  2. Sauté onion in olive oil until translucent.
  3. Add garlic, peppers, tomatillos, and lettuce and cook until vegetables are soft and bright green.
  4. Pour sautéed vegetables into a blender with reserved pozole cooking liquid and more vegetable stock (if needed) to make a creamy soup base.
  5. Pour soup base into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  6. Add more vegetable stock to reach the desired consistency of your soup. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Serve toppings in separate bowls with spoons so that each person can serve up a bowl of soup and put the toppings they would like in their bowl.
Variations
  1. Sauté cooked pozole in olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and chile powder. The result is a beautiful and tasty pozole to garnish the soup with.
  2. Use sliced zucchini in place of some or all of the poblano peppers for a milder version.
  3. Pickle thin radish rounds in umeboshi vinegar for about an hour before serving the soup, and use as a topping.

 

Here is the the version I made with Nelson at home yesterday. We added zucchini and serrano pepper (as we forgot to buy the poblanos) as well as a little shredded chicken we had leftover from making a chicken stock. It was still amazing! Another thing we tried was to sauté the cooked pozole corn in olive oil with ground Ancho chile and salt. It had a beautiful color and amazing flavor when added to the soup as a garnish.

Here is a photo of Cecilia and I at the Vegan Thanksgiving class we taught together at the Natural Epicurean in November 2016. I miss her so much!

Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016
Cecilia and Rachel cooking together at The Natural Epicurean- November 2016

Maple Roasted Wild Caught Salmon with Fresh Rosemary

We make this dish at home when salmon is in season and we want something easy, hearty, and delicious. It is also great for a large dinner party because it can be cooked at the last minute after everyone has arrived. This recipe is quite simple; it has only 6 ingredients, including olive oil and sea salt! There are many variations on this recipe, but one of our favorites is to add toasted pecans.

When selecting your salmon fillet, make sure it is wild caught, as the taste of wild caught salmon is unparalleled, and is higher in minerals, including potassium, zinc and iron than its farm-raised counterpart. Wild caught salmon contains about half the fat as farm-raised salmon, so it is important to cook it with some oil if baking or roasting in the oven.

Some ideas for completing your menu:

  • Salmon with basmati, jasmine, or sushi rice and a green vegetable.
  • Salmon on top of your favorite salad.
  • Salmon with Niçoise Salad.
  • Salmon with sushi hand roll fixings like cucumber, carrot, avocado, toasted nori, and a dipping sauce.

Maple Roasted Wild Caught Salmon with Fresh Rosemary
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1¼ lb. wild caught salmon fillet (coho, sockeye, or king)
  • sea salt
  • about ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Lightly oil a 9" X 9" glass baking dish or roasting pan with a thin coating of olive oil.
  3. Cut salmon into 4 equal pieces. Rinse and pat dry with a paper towel. Place salmon pieces in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle evenly with sea salt (a few large pinches). Alternatively, leave the salmon fillet whole to have a nice presentation the table.
  4. Roast salmon in the oven for 8 minutes.
  5. In the meantime, sauté garlic in olive oil until garlic is soft but not browned. Remove from heat and stir in rosemary, maple syrup, and a large pinch of salt.
  6. After salmon has roasted for 8 minutes, remove from oven and spoon garlic-rosemary oil over each fillet. Return salmon to the oven and roast for another 3 minutes, and then check for doneness.
  7. Serve with a fresh salad, sauteed greens or broccolini, or other vegetable side dish.
Variations
  1. Maple-pecan version: Toast up to 1 cup pecan pieces with the garlic until fragrant, but be careful not to burn the garlic. Keep the rest of the recipe the same, or omit the rosemary for a pure maple-pecan flavor. This variation is especially good in the fall and early winter when pecans are fresh.
  2. Maple-balsamic version: Add 2 teaspoons good quality balsamic vinegar (or balsamic reduction) to the garlic-olive oil mixture. Omit rosemary.
Note
  1. To check for doneness, plunge a small sharp knife all the way through the thickest part of one of the fillets and hold it there for 5 seconds. Pull it out and carefully touch the flat side of the knife to your lower lip, which is very sensitive to temperature. If it feels warm, the fish is just cooked through and ready to serve. If the knife is still cold or cool, the fish needs more time.
  2. Another way to gauge doneness is to watch for the appearance of a white substance that starts forming on the outside of the salmon. Usually this indicates the salmon is close to being done.

maple-roasted-salmon-6

Salmon with sushi rice, toasted nori, and steamed green beans.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate

Yesterday, I was part of a “Friendsgiving” photo shoot for Austin Food Magazine with amazingly talented Austin caterer Suzanne Court. “Friendsgiving” is the term for getting together with all of your friends for a potluck Thanksgiving meal. In this case, many local chefs, restauranteurs, food bloggers, and wine folks gathered at our friends’ beautiful house in Rollingwood. It was one of most delicious meals I’ve ever had, and I met so many friendly people in the local food scene. The article will come out in Austin Food Magazine on Monday, November 23rd.

Maple-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Pecans and Pomegranate
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Vegetable Side Dish
Cuisine: Holiday
Serves: 8 servings
Ingredients
Toasted Pecans
  • ⅓ cup pecans, broken into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon tamari
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
  • 2 pounds Brussels sprouts
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar reduction
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds, for garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pecans on sheet pan and toast in the oven for 6-8 minutes. When fully toasted, remove from the oven into a mixing bowl. Drizzle with tamari and let cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  3. Trim brussels sprouts and cut in half (or in quarters if very large). Place in a large bowl and toss with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Spread brussels sprouts out onto large sheet pan (or two smaller sheet pans) and roast in the oven for 12 minutes.
  5. While roasting the brussels sprouts, combine maple syrup and garlic. After 12 minutes, give the brussels sprouts a stir and add maple syrup and garlic mixture. Continue to roast until golden brown, about 15 minutes more.
  6. Remove brussels sprouts to a platter. Sprinkle with toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle with balsamic reduction.
Note:
  1. For this large platter mounded with brussels sprouts, I used 5 pounds of brussels sprouts.

This recipe is fairly simple, but does require knowing how to get the seeds out of a pomegranate. I use the method presented in this video (cut the pomegranate in half and tap one half at a time with a wooden spoon or hammer until all seeds pop out).

roasted brussels sprouts

Here are some of the dishes from our Friendsgiving feast:

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This salad from Suzanne Court Catering was so wild and fresh!

thanksgiving tableIMG_5547

Beautiful pork dish with roasted squash, toasted pecans, and arugula by Chef David Garrido of Dine Raddison Austin.

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I highly recommend putting a dinner like this together with your friends. Just set up a shared google spreadsheet so everyone can sign up for a dish, or just take your chances that you will have a varied meal! I made maple-roasted brussels sprouts for the event. Try them this holiday season, as they are simple to make and have the perfect colors for a festive side dish!

Roasted Brussels Sproutsphoto of maple roasted brussels sprouts

Macrobiotic Macaroni and Cheese

vegan, gluten free, macaroni and cheese

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate comfort food! When the weather starts to turn cold, give this hearty vegan version a try. It is packed with nutrients from winter squash, carrots, and miso, and contains no cheese substitutes like nutritional yeast or soy-based cheeses.It can easily be made gluten-free by using a gluten-free variety of pasta. Although this recipe does not fall into the “quick and easy” category, it is worth the effort as it is so nourishing and delicious!

There are some ingredients that need explaining in this recipe.

  1. Be sure to use raw cashews. When soaked, raw cashews will become soft and can be blended to create a very creamy texture. For savory dishes, discard the sweet soaking water.
  2. Kombu is used in preparing the squash and carrots for the cheese sauce. It is a sea vegetable high in iodine and other beneficial minerals and enhances the flavor of whatever you are cooking.
  3. Ume plum vinegar (a.k.a. umeboshi vinegar) is a healthful sour and salty condiment that adds amazing flavor to sauces and dressings, and is actually not technically a vinegar (it is the salt brine used to pickle the ume plum). You can find it in the Asian aisle of most health food stores, or you can purchase it online. The Eden brand is most easy to find.
  4. Red or sweet white miso is called for in this recipe to create the cheesy taste of the sauce. Red miso will give more depth of flavor, more like an aged cheddar cheese, and sweet white miso will give a lighter flavor, more like an American cheese. Be sure to use miso that is unpasteurized and made with sea salt like Miso Master or South River Miso. In Austin, you can get both varieties of miso at Wheatsville Coop.
  5. Natto is made from fermented soybeans and has many health benefits. It gives a depth of flavor to the dish that cannot be achieved otherwise. My favorite natto can be ordered online from Mugumi Natto. It is the only organic brand I have been able to find. It freezes well if you would like to order several packages. You can also make your own by purchasing powdered natto starter.
  6. Unsweetened, whole grain mochi is made of steamed sweet brown rice that is pounded until smooth and formed into squares to dehydrate and store. It is 100% whole grain, naturally gluten-free, high in protein, and can be grated and seasoned to use as a topping for casseroles and pizzas. Granaissance, Mitoku, and Eden all make mochi. In Austin, we can find the Eden brand of mochi at Central Market. Grainaissance mochi is more crumbly when grated whereas the Eden and Mitoku brands can be grated into longer shreds, but either one will work in this recipe.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Macrobiotic Macaroni and Cheese
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
Macaroni and "Cheese" Sauce
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 3 cups kabocha or butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cups carrots, cut into1/2-inch rounds
  • 1-inch piece of kombu
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unpasteurized red or sweet white miso
  • 1 tablespoon natto (Megumi brand recommended)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • spring or filtered water
  • 12 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked until al dente and drained
Mochi "Cheese" Topping
  • 2 cups plain mochi, grated coarsely
  • 2 teaspoons red or sweet white miso
  • 1 teaspoon ume plum vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • spring or filtered water
Instructions
Macaroni and "Cheese" Sauce
  1. Soak cashews in water for several hours. Drain and set aside.
  2. In heavy pot with lid, place ½ cup water, kombu, squash, carrots, and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn to low and cook about 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and easily pierced with a fork. Remove kombu from cooked vegetables.
  3. To make the “cheese” sauce, place the squash, carrots, and their cooking liquid into a food processor along with the soaked and drained cashews, umeboshi vinegar, miso, natto (if using), garlic, and olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding water if needed to get the consistency of a thick soup. Taste for seasonings. If carrots and squash are super sweet, you may need to add a little more miso, sea salt, umeboshi vinegar, and/or olive oil to achieve a more savory flavor.
  4. Place cooked and drained macaroni elbows back into cooking pot. Add “cheese” sauce to coat macaroni. Pour macaroni and “cheese” into an oiled baking dish.
Mochi "Cheese" Topping
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Mix together grated mochi, miso, ume plum vinegar, olive oil, and enough water to thoroughly moisten the mochi (about ½-3/4 cup). Spread mochi mixture on top of the macaroni and “cheese” and bake, covered, for 20-30 minutes (it should be starting to bubble around the edges). Remove foil and melt mochi under the broiler for 2 minutes or until it turns golden brown. Watch closely to avoid burning!

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Ful Medames (Egyptian breakfast)

In the peak of tomato season this summer, our friends Sami and Lorraine invited us over for a typical Egyptian breakfast in which they served Ful Medames, a flavorful, lemony fava bean dish decorated with hard boiled eggs and tomatoes. Sami has fond memories of this dish from his native Egypt, and calls it ful” for short. Although the flavors are complex, this recipe is actually quite simple to make, especially if you start with canned beans.

Ful Medames (Egyptian breakfast)
 
Serve this beautiful bean dish for breakfast, brunch, or anytime! Wait until tomatoes are fresh and in season to attempt this special dish.
Author:
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Egyptian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 cups cooked fava beans
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, for garnish
Instructions
  1. If using canned fava beans, drain beans and place them in a saucepan with enough water to cover by about one inch. Cook over medium heat until beans are tender, about 8-10 minutes. If beans are unsalted, add ½ teaspoon of sea salt to the water while simmering. Stir beans until they begin to break up or mash a little. If using homemade fava beans, salt to taste after beans have become soft, and simmer in cooking liquid until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, garlic, salt, and pepper.
  3. Drain beans of any remaining cooking liquid and add to bowl with dressing. Toss to coat. Taste for seasonings and add extra salt or pepper if needed.
  4. On one large serving platter or on individual plates, plate the fava beans and top with hard-boiled eggs, tomatoes, and parsley. Drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired.
  5. Serve with fresh pita bread or whole grain chips.

Sami at table

Authentic Italian Pesto

Round out your summer Italian feast with some pasta and homemade basil pesto (recipe from Monica Pesoli of Cook Like An Italian)! For a dairy-free version, omit Parmesan cheese and add 2 teaspoons sweet white miso or 1 teaspoon umeboshi vinegar and sea salt to taste.

Authentic Italian Pesto
 
An authentic Italian pesto, versatile and delicious. This would traditionally be used as a pasta sauce, but would also be good on bruschetta, meats, fish, or vegetables. Recipe courtesy of Monica Pesoli of "Like an Italian" cooking classes, language instruction, and Italy tours.
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 1 cup
Ingredients
  • 2½ cups of basil leaves (no stems), tightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, Montebello brand recommended
Instructions
  1. Use all organic ingredients to the greatest extent possible. Wash basil and parsley nonetheless; de-vein basil leaves w/ largest veins.
  2. Add to a blender parsley, half the oil, garlic, nuts, cheese, and some salt if desired. Puree with lid on.
  3. Turn off blender, and add all basil, drizzling remaining oil over leaves. With blender off and using a rubber spatula, help to direct leaves under the blades by forcing them down along the sides of the blender. With the lid on, pulse the blender switch a number of times, catching leaves in the blades to puree. Continue to alternate forcing leaves down the sides of the blender towards the blades (with blender off and lid removed), and pulsing blender switch with lid on to puree leaves.
  4. Pesto is ready when leaves are evenly pureed, but mixture still has some texture (with no leafy bits). Use as pasta topping/sauce or on a multitude of other foods!