Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

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These cheesy grainfree breadsticks are a guaranteed winner!  They are yummy enough to satisfy that carb craving that we all know so well, without adding empty calories and they are wheat and gluten free. This is one of the blog posts that went missing during my technically challenged summer, however, I certainly didn’t mind ‘having’ to make it again.  The first time I spread the cauliflower ‘dough’ into rectangles  (like a sheet pizza) and cut it into strips to serve.

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This time I decided to try making into individual strips or bars which can be picked up by hand to eat.  I am a crispy crust lover so I figured this would maximize the crispy edges and I was not disappointed.  I sprinkled the cooked breadsticks with fresh basil but you could also provide warm tomato sauce or pesto for dipping.

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Cauliflower is a great carb substitute and provides vitamins, and minerals plus fiber and very few calories (only 27 per cup), very low fat and no cholesterol.  It is a surprisingly excellent source of Vitamin C which we need more of, especially this time of year as flu season approaches.

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This recipe can also be used as a pizza, either rectangular or round.  Just add tomato or pesto sauce.  I would go light on toppings as it may not hold up. Here is a photo of my first Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks based on the recipe from Jo Cooks.com

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I have blogged about Cauliflower Pizza before.  My older recipe calls for the addition of almond flour which makes it more of a traditional crust and great for lots of toppings.  Check out my original recipe for Cauliflower Crust Pizza which also featured caramelized onions and mushrooms.

 

I have the luxury of fresh eggs from my own backyard hens.  I have 9 hens, most of whom have been rescued from Factory Farms where they lived in warehouses and never got a chance to go outside or eat fresh food.  (Yes, even my organic cage free hens.)  You can follow my ‘girls’ on their Facebook Page  Mrs Vs Rescue Chickens.  However, if you don’t have access to backyard chickens, please buy Pasture Raised eggs from the store.  That is the ONLY label that means that the hens got a chance to go outside.

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TIPS:  I used a food processor to ‘rice’ my cauliflower which is very easy, however, I am starting to see Cauliflower Rice in stores (even Costco) if you are looking for a shortcut. Then I steamed the cauliflower rice in the microwave which is the easiest way to ensure you don’t have excess moisture. If you prefer not to use a microwave, you can steam the cauliflower on the stovetop with a bit of water before ricing.  Just make sure any excess water is removed by squeezing with papertowels.

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CHEESY CAULIFLOWER BREADSTICKS

  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
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  • Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

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  • Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.

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  • Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.

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  • Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.

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  • Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.

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  • Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.

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  • Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 5 or 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.

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  • Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.

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  • Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.

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  • Serve with fresh basil.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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  • 1 large head of cauliflower (about 4 cups riced)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (or a blend of cheeses)
  • 1-2 cups mozzarella cheese (optional topping)
  • 1 Tbsn fresh basil, chopped (optional topping)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare 2 pizza dishes or a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove outer leaves and roughly chop cauliflower into florets.
  3. Add the florets to a food processor or blender and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice.
  4. Place the cauliflower in a microwavable bowl and cover. Microwave for 10 minutes. Let cool.
  5. Stir in the oregano, garlic, red pepper and salt and pepper. Taste (before adding the eggs) and adjust spices if necessary.
  6. Mix in eggs and 2 cups mozzarella.
  7. Divide the mixture in half and place each half onto the prepared baking sheets and shape into individual strips (about 6 to a pan) or into a rectangular shape that you will cut into breadsticks later.
  8. Bake the crust (without toppings) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. You may have to push the sides back in with a spatula if you see spreading.
  9. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
  10. Serve with fresh basil.

 

Meatless Monday – Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup

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Craving a bowl of luscious, creamy rib sticking soup but don’t want the extra calories or carbs?  Well this is it! This yummy creation tastes like a delicious, creamy potato soup but without potatoes or cream. Cauliflower has worked so well as a healthy stand in for so many carbs like rice, potatoes and other grains that I thought to give my  Old Fashioned Potato Soup recipe a cauliflower update.  Pureeing some or all of the cooked cauliflower and vegetable broth into a smooth and creamy consistency makes it easy to omit the cream.  You will swear its loaded with cream but it is actually vegan (unless you top it with parmesan).  I loved this soup topped with a drizzle of herb oil whose sharp tang melds nicely with the creaminess of the soup and dry roasted pepitos that add a satisfying crunch.  Parmesan is another yummy option that adds a salty, creamy dimension.  Purists can top with salt and pepper or swirl in a pat of butter for an even creamier consistency. Yum!

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I paired this yummy soup with a green salad for a completely satisfying meal.  My husband, who often doesn’t feel full without some kind of meat, really enjoyed it and, best of all, wasn’t back at the refrigerator 45 minutes after dinner, which is really telling. Did you know that a head of cauliflower is actually made up of tightly clustered florets which are flowers that begin to form but are halted at bud stage.  They stay white because they are protected from the sun by their leaves, otherwise they would turn green through photosynthesis.  In addition to being cool science,  cauliflower is a wonderful addition to our diet.   It is low in calories and fat, with zero cholesterol but rich in fiber, vitamins (including B complex and C), minerals (manganese, copper, iron, calcium and potassium) and phytonutrients which are key to a healthy immune system and thought to be good cancer fighters.  Cauliflower is mild in taste which makes it extremely adaptable in cooking. You could call it the chameleon of vegetables.

Check out other GMD  recipes where cauliflower reigns (or fools, however you want to look at it): cauliflower ‘pizza’, ‘pasta’ and ‘rice’.

Cauliflower Pizza

Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

Cauliflower Mac Cheese15

Cauliflower Mac and Cheese

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Tabouleh – Grain Free

 

CREAMY CAULIFLOWER LEEK SOUP

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1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt (if needed)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil(optional)
2 tablespoons minced chives or green part of scallions(optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or other fresh herbs(optional)
1/2 cup pepitos (shelled pumpkin seeds)(optional)
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded (optional)

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  • Cut end off leek and slice in half lengthwise. Rinse under running water while fanning the sections of the leek like a deck of cards to remove any grit. Remove dark green leaves and chop white and light green parts.

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  • Core cauliflower and chop into small florets.
  • In a small bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons olive oil, chives, and herbs, if using. Set aside to marinate.

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  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks, and onions, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.

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  • Stir in cauliflower and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.

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  • While cauliflower is cooking, dry roast pepitos in a small pan over medium heat for several minutes, or until golden and aromatic.  Let cool.

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  • In 2 or  3 batches, puree soup in a food processor or blender until very smooth, several minutes. You can puree the whole soup for a velvety smooth texture, or, you can leave about a third of the florets for a chunkier, more ‘potato like’ consistency, (i.e. blend 2 batches and leave the last chunky). Stir together and add salt and pepper to taste.

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  •  Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle herb oil and top with pepitos and parmesan cheese, if desired.  If you want an even creamier consistency, swirl in a pat of butter before serving.

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Creamy Cauliflower Leek Soup

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 leek
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
1 quart vegetable broth
1/2 tsp. salt (if needed)
2 tablespoons olive oil(optional)
2 tablespoons minced chives or green part of scallions(optional)
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or other fresh herbs(optional)
1/2 cup pepitos (shelled pumpkin seeds)(optional)
1/2 cup parmesan, shredded (optional)

  • Cut end off leek and slice in half lengthwise. Rinse under running water while fanning the sections of the leek like a deck of cards to remove any grit. Remove dark green leaves and chop white and light green parts.
  • Core cauliflower and chop into small florets.
  • In a small bowl, combine 2 Tablespoons olive oil, chives, and parsley, if using. Set aside to marinate.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add leeks, and onions, cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and wine. Cook, stirring, until liquid is almost completely evaporated, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Stir in cauliflower and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until cauliflower is very soft, 20 to 25 minutes.
  • While cauliflower is cooking, dry roast pepitos in a small pan over medium heat for several minutes, or until golden and aromatic.  Let cool.
  • In 2 or  3 batches, puree soup in a food processor or blender until very smooth, several minutes. You can puree the whole soup for a velvety smooth texture, or, you can leave about a third of the florets for a chunkier, more ‘potato like’ consistency, (i.e. blend 2 batches and leave the last chunky). Stir together and add salt and pepper to taste.
  •  Ladle soup into bowls, drizzle herb oil and top with pepitos and parmesan cheese, if desired.  If you want an even creamier consistency, swirl in at of butter before serving.

 

Wheatless Wednesday – Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Olives

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“A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” — Lao Tzu

Yesterday was a travel day for me (a 3000 mile journey from Maine to California), starting with a three hour drive to Boston Logan, then an almost seven hour flight to SFO into headwinds.  I got home feeling tired but blessed.  No matter how long the day, any flight that lands is a good flight in my book.  I hate flying these days.  It used to be that we only had to worry about the plane breaking mid-flight but now we have much more to worry about every time we get on a plane.  It didn’t help that the ‘Safe Travels” bracelet that my friend, Stephanie, brought me back from Israel was found on the floor, (meaning the threads broke) a few days ago.  I don’t consider myself very superstitious but this kind of freaked me out.  What if it’s an omen? I mean that bracelet has done a good job of keeping the plane in the air for more than a year!  So in desperation true form  I re-tied the strings into a makeshift, albeit awkward, bracelet and put it on my wrist.  I’m now in California so it must have worked, Whew!  So why am I telling you this?  In deciding what to make for Wheatless Wednesday, I took stock of what I had on hand which wasn’t much since I haven’t been home in weeks.  I had done a quick trip to the market for essentials and picked up a small head of cauliflower so I knew that was going to be my feature.  Then I went out to my garden and harvested a few large heirloom tomatoes, a lime, fresh herbs, a couple of red chili peppers and a handful of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes.

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A quick check in my pantry yielded a can of garbanzo beans, so I was set.  I had remembered that Gwyneth Paltrow had a recipe for Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Mustard and Parsley.  I had great luck with Gwyneth’s famous White Bean and Swiss Chard Soup which was delicious so went back to her cookbook. “It’s All Good” to check out the recipe.  Since it’s still summer, barely, (The first day of Fall also known as the Autumnal Equinox is on Tuesday, September 23, 2014, less than two weeks from now.) I decided to swap out the mustard for a dressing made with my fresh herbs and chili peppers along with spices, like cumin and chili powder. First I roasted the cauliflower and garbanzos and let them cool slightly. Then I drizzled them with the slightly spicy dressing and tossed it all with halved cherry tomatoes, olives and fresh parsley.  This is a wonderful, ultra-healthy and satisfying main course, just serve with a side salad.  It also makes a great side dish paired with almost anything.

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In her book, Gwyneth also recommends using the tough outer leaves which are usually removed and discarded.  I usually throw them in my green bin or give them to the chickens next door but decided to take Gwyneth up on her challenge.  As suggested, I sliced and sautéed them in butter and garlic.  What could be bad?  I could probably eat my shoes if they were sautéed in butter and garlic… And the result?  I sprinkled them with sea salt – Delicious!  Gwyneth was right. They taste a lot like bok choy but slightly firmer.  The best part is that you get a second dish, two for the price of one!

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TIP:  I made this dish more summery by  using fresh herbs and spices in the dressing instead of mustard and I also included red chili peppers, cherry tomatoes and olives for a more salady feel.  If you would like to make Gwyneth’s original dish, omit the spices, tomatoes and olives.  For the dressing, add 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon each, Dijon mustard and seeded mustard.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpeas with Tomatoes and Olives

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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14-ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), or 2 cups cooked
1 head of cauliflower
Extra virgin olive oil
Coarse sea salt
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup olives (any type)
1/4 cup chopped Italian Parsley
Dressing:
3 Tbsn olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine or apple cider vinegar
1 tsp lime juice (or more to taste)
1 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 tsp chili powder (or more to taste)
1 tbsn chopped red chilis (optional)
Freshly ground black pepper
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  • Drain chickpeas and let dry, or dry with towels.

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  • Remove the outer leaves from the head of cauliflower, core and cut into bite-sized florets.  Since garbanzos are small, I like to cut the florets pretty small too.

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  •  Toss the chickpeas and cauliflower together in a large roasting pan with 3 Tablespoons of olive oil and a big pinch of salt.  Roast at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes.

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  •  Remove from the heat and let cool, slightly, while you make the dressing.  Whisk together the oil, vinegar and spices. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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  •  Add tomatoes, olives and parsley.  Drizzle with dressing and gently combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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Meatless Monday – Chili Lime Grilled Tofu with Avocado &Mango Salsa

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Chili Lime Grilled Tofu is my favorite tofu recipe so far.  It’s taken a few tries but I have finally nailed it. I made this last week and thought it needed something, so this time I topped it with an Avocado Mango salsa with red onions, lime and jalapenos which is a great combination of sweet, savory and spicy.   I also let the tofu marinate overnight which allows the flavors of the marinade to be fully absorbed before cooking.  I just served this dinner to my new future daughter in law (I love saying that) and one of my sons, who I thought wouldn’t even try tofu. Much to my surprise the tofu was a big hit.  I’m just happy there is a bit left for lunch tomorrow…

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The Avocado Mango Salsa is a delight of flavors and would also be great on top of grilled or roasted fish or chicken. I know you’ve heard that Avocados are nutrient dense and a healthy fat but did you know that they also act as a ‘nutrient booster’ by helping the body absorb the nutrients from foods eaten along with it?  Furthermore, Mango is so nutritionally rich it is considered the “King of Fruit”.   Lastly,  Jalapeno Peppers add more than just spice. They are high in nutrients that may help you boost weight loss efforts, improve immunity, promote heart health and fight free radicals from environmental and dietary pollutants.  This recipe calls for one jalapeno pepper without the seeds.  If you like spicy, add another jalapeno or include the seeds, but beware, the seeds are really hot.  If you don’t like spicy, don’t use the jalapeno.  So feel free to load up on this salsa.  It might be the best thing you’ve done for your body today!

TIP:  I served this tofu with brown basmati rice which I cooked in vegetable broth.  A great way to add more flavor to rice is to add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon ginger paste or a one inch piece of peeled ginger root to the broth while cooking.  Just remove the root before serving.

For other tofu recipes, check out:

Crispy Glazed Tofu and Bok Choy

Tofu and Bok Choy1

Green Curry Tofu

Thai Green Curry Tofu

 

Chili Lime Grilled Tofu with Avocado Mango Salsa

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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TOFU:
1 (14 ounce) package extra firm tofu
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
5 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper to taste

SALSA:
1 avocado, diced
1/2 cup mango, diced
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (optional)
1 Tbsn lime juice (or more to taste)
1 Tbsn cilantro, chopped
1-2 Tbsn olive or avocado oil
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
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  • Slice the tofu in 1/2 inch slices and place on double papertowels.  You can leave them rectangular or cut into triangle shapes.

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  • Cover with papertowels and put a heavy pan on top to help press out excess water. Should take 20 to 30 minutes.  Don’t skip this step or the tofu won’t absorb the marinade.

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  • Combine all other ingredients and marinate tofu in the refrigerator several hours or overnight.

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  • To make the salsa, slice the mango about a third of the way (avoiding the rather large pit inside).

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  • Using a sharp knife, cut rows horizontally through the flesh but not all the way through the skin.

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  • Turn mango and cut crosswise

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  • Flip the mango slice inside out and slice off chunks.  Place in a bowl.

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  • Cut avocado in half, pit and dice.  Place into bowl with mango.

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  • Using gloves or a papertowel to protect your hands from the pepper oils, seed and mince the jalapeno.  Add to mango mixture.

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  • Chop red onion and add to bowl.

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  • Add chopped cilantro, lime juice and salt.  Gently combine and set aside.

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  • Brush or spray oil on the grill and let it preheat.  Grill tofu several minutes until you see nice grill marks.  Turn and grill the other side.  Remove to a serving platter or individual plates.

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  • Top with salsa mixture.

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  • Serve with rice or some other grain for a well rounded meal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Wheatless Wednesday – Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Coconut Rice & Bok Choy

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    They’re Back! ( in sing song voice) With graduations and summer approaching, we have gone from being empty nesters to having a full house again. One of the biggest adjustments this time has been for the ‘kids’ because of my meatless diet.  They are more likely to cater to my diet now, which is a complete switch from when I used to plan meals around them. Back in the day I had to make many allowances for my picky eaters.    Even when my boys were young and ate only five or six things in the world, there was always the odd food, like flying fish roe sushi, that they would eat along with their plain pasta with butter and cucumber circles.  I lived in fear that they would figure out what flying fish roe was and then even that would be out.  Luckily for me, as they grew older their tastes expanded in the same proportion as their desire for ‘plain food with no sauce, nothing on the plate touching’ diminished.  Some of you still may be there but don’t worry, they do eventually grow up and eat real food.   I knew we were there when the last one crossed over into  the light ‘salads’.  My life was so much easier once I no longer had to hide veggies somewhere on their plates and could just serve them right out in the open, no secret dips or funny mashed potatoes.  Whew!

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    My boys (young men now) still have an affinity for Asian food, and although they still eat flying fish roe sushi, their tastes for the exotic have also expanded.  One of our favorite appetizers is Miang Kam (literally meaning Tasty Leaf Wrapped Tidbits) in which several ingredients, usually coconut, ginger, lemon, dried shrimp, peanuts and green onions, among many other interesting bits of food, are hand assembled in a leaf, topped with a yummy sauce, folded over and popped in the mouth where the ingredients combine for a burst of flavor.  These Shrimp Lettuce Wraps are loosely inspired by Miang Kam, although I took many liberties with the selection of ingredients.  The wraps themselves are reminiscent of the Thai dish with the garnishes of ginger, red chili pepper, toasted coconut, scallion and sliced lemon which provide an explosion of flavor.  I added Sriracha to mine since I love spicy but a plum or sweet ginger sauce would be tasty too.

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    No meal is complete in my book without some kind of veggies, so I sliced up fresh bok choy and sautéed it with a bit of garlic and ginger and added mung bean sprouts, which were in my refrigerator, for good measure.  I also made  Coconut Rice with brown Jasmine rice, ginger, turmeric and cumin which came out a deliciously lovely yellow (thanks to the Turmeric, which I’m sure you’ve heard is the new wonder spice that provides antioxidants and health benefits to your food along with it’s unique flavor).  Both side dishes are great as a base for the shrimp in the lettuce wraps or can be simply served on the side.

    Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print
    1 head Butter or Boston lettuce (whole leaves)
    1 lb raw shrimp (shelled, tail removed)
    4  Tbsn olive or avocado oil (divided)
    4 cloves garlic, finely minced (divided)
    1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
    1/4 tsp chili powder
    3-4 heads bok choy
    1 cup bean sprouts(optional)
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    GARNISHES:

    1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
    1 fresh red chili pepper, minced
    1 thumb-size piece of ginger, minced
    3 green onions, minced
    1 lime cut into small wedges
    Sriracha Sauce, Plum Sauce or Sesame Chili Oil (Optional)

     

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    • If you are using peeled and deveined shrimp, rinse them in cold water and pat them dry.  If your shrimp still have the shells, remove the legs, shell and tail or watch this video for instructions on peeling shrimp.
    • Dry toast coconut into a pan (preferably cast iron) on medium high heat until golden brown. (1-2 minutes). Remove from pan and let cool
    • Wash and dry lettuce leaves and arrange on a platter with toppings.

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    • Reheat pan and saute bok choy on medium heat in half the oil and garlic for several minutes.  Add the bean sprouts, if using, and heat another minute or so.  Remove from heat and place in a serving bowl.

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    • Reheat pan on medium high and add the remaining oil, garlic, chili powder and red pepper flakes.  Sautee the shrimp until it turns pink, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.  Serve in hot pan or place in a serving bowl.
    • Assemble lettuce wraps with coconut rice (see recipe below), bok choy and shrimp topped with your preferred condiments.  Or serve rice and bok choy on the side.

     

    Coconut Jasmine Rice

    • Servings: 4
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

     

    Shrimp Lettuce Wraps2
    Coconut Jasmine Rice

    1 cup brown or white jasmine rice
    1 can coconut milk
    1 cup vegetable stock
    1 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp cumin
    pinch of saffron threads (optional)
    1 clove garlic, minced
    1/4 cup dry shredded or flaked coconut, unsweetened

    • Heat coconut milk and stock to boil.  Add rice and spices and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the water has evaporated.  Remove from heat and let sit covered.
    • Dry toast the coconut in a pan on medium high heat for one or two minutes until golden brown.  Remove from heat and let cool.
    • Fluff the rice with a fork.  Serve topped with toasted coconut.

    Wheatless Wednesday – Tabouleh (Grain Free)

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    Raw-Vegan-Potluck.  My friend, Karenna Love,  invited me to a vegan potluck at her house.  I love all things food related and immediately knew what I was going to bring – until I re-read the invitation.  Somehow I missed the ‘raw’ part.  I make a lot of vegetarian and vegan food but other than green salads, I generally cook some or all of my foods.  I was stumped. All my go to foods like grains, beans and legumes need to be cooked.   I thought about going out to my garden and picking fresh produce for a salad but other than lettuce and chard, nothing else is ready yet.  Then I remembered how well cauliflower stood in for wheat in my Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe and decided to make a traditional tabouleh using cauliflower ‘rice’ instead of the usual couscous or bulgur.  The result is delicious and, even though I know better since I ground up the cauliflower myself, I would swear it’s cooked  bulgur wheat not cauliflower.  This is a great recipe for those on gluten or wheat free diets – even for my Paleo friends.    I would definitely make this again-on purpose!

    Why eat raw?  Eating fruits and vegetables raw ensures that you get 100% of the vitamins and minerals, including beneficial enzymes.  Cooking can make some foods easier to digest but some of the vitamins and minerals (and all of the enzymes) are lost in the process.  I’m not quite ready to throw out my pots and pans just yet, but I do see how adding more raw foods into our diets is a worthy goal.

    Let’s go back to Karenna Love, founder of wonderful website VeganGreenPlanet, and her Raw Vegan Potluck.  I have to admit to a few apprehensions about going to a vegan event when I’m not even vegetarian.  But then I realized that GMD is all about pushing myself out of my comfort zone, so I went.  It was an interesting mix of caring and non-judgemental people and great food.   I’m so glad I stepped out of my box. My Tabouleh was well received, which after one taste, I knew it was yummy and potluck worthy. The speaker, Mikaele Holzer, health coach and cleansing expert at Green Your Spirit  was pretty interesting and very personable.   I learned a lot about vegan food, cleansing, and detox.  Both  are amazing women-check them out.

    Grain Free Tabouleh

    • Servings: 4-6
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

    1 head cauliflower

    1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, small dice

    1 seedless cucumber, small dice

    1 1/2 cups fresh parsley, minced

    3/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced

    1/2 cup fresh mint, minced

    1/3 cup olive or avocado oil

    3 Tbsn fresh lemon juice

    3/4 tsp sea salt

    1/4 tsp black pepper

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    • Remove leaves from cauliflower and break into florets.  Discard leaves, core and stem.  Using a food processor, blend florets into ‘rice’.  Or you can use a hand grater.  Scoop into a large bowl.

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    • If you are using a food processor, you can mince the parsley, cilantro and mint by machine as a shortcut.

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    • Add the rest of the diced vegetables and minced herbs to the cauliflower.

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    • Whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper and pour onto salad. Toss to combine.  Adjust seasoning (add salt or lemon juice to taste).
    • Serve immediately or let rest in the refrigerator.  Flavors will continue to develop over several hours.

    Tabouleh1

     

    Wheatless Wednesday – Jerusalem Chicken with Fava & Spring Vegetable Saute

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    bRoasted Chicken1

    Can there really be a cookbook co-written by an Israeli and a Palestinian?  Yes, and it is a work of art!   Yotam Ottelenghi, from the Jewish West, and Sami Tamimi, from the Arab East, have written a gloriously beautiful book, “Jerusalem”, which is a cookbook with wonderful recipes but also gorgeous photos and personal commentary that portray life in Jerusalem where they both grew up, albeit in different parts of the city.  They didn’t know each other in Jerusalem but met later in London and became good friends and then business partners.  They now own many successful restaurants together. They claim that this book was a walk down memory lane for them, “a nostalgic trip into their pasts”.  More about “Jerusalem”

    Jerusalem

    My friend, Stephanie, brought this book back from Israel for my birthday last year and I thought it appropriate to try one of it’s dishes for Passover.  I made their Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon which was delicious.  The combination of lemon, artichoke,  halved shallots, garlic and sliced lemon combined with saffron and fresh herbs was really flavorful.  I couldn’t find Jerusalem artichoke so substituted canned artichoke quarters packed in water.  I used local, free range chicken, herbs from my garden and lemons from my tree in an effort to make a smaller footprint (and frankly, to support the small local growers because if it’s a profitable to let chickens run around in the sunshine, maybe more will follow suit).

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    So now I know why fava beans are so expensive.  I had planted fava beans as a cover crop to introduce nitrogen into the soil for my summer tomatoes, not realizing that you are supposed to pull or plow under cover crops when they are flowering and not let them fruit or they pull all the nitrogen back out of the soil. ( More Info on Cover Crops Thank you Sean for all the cover crop info! )  I had already messed up on the cover crop thing since I had quite a few fava bean pods growing on my plants already, so I decided to let them go a bit longer and enjoy a mini harvest.  It seemed a shame to throw out such beautiful, healthy plants so I procrastinated a bit more.  Then we had dinner at a great local restaurant, Farmshop, which offered a roasted halibut on a bed of spring vegetables with fava leaves.  What?  You can eat the leaves?  I had to order the dish just to see for myself.  The dish was delicious but more importantly I now know what to do with my favas.  Finally I can feel good about pulling out my plants before their time.  So why are fava beans so expensive?  First, a big pile of fava beans in their pods shrinks into a small bowl of edible beans.  Secondly, they require a four step process before they are edible.  First they need to be shelled, then parboiled and put straight into an ice bath and finally their skins have to be removed.  Luckily I had two capable helpers, Veronica and Eric who made quick work of the favas.  How to shell fava beans.

    I paired the chicken with a spring vegetable medley which includes fava beans, fava leaves, zucchini, asparagus and baby bella mushrooms all diced to be the same size as your average fava bean.  I was really wishing my Dad was in the kitchen to help out as well.  He is the world’s best sous chef.  He wields the paring knife like a master, cutting everything beautifully into  the perfect same size so everything cooks at the same rate.  Luckily, I learned from the best!.

    Jerusalem Chicken aka Roasted Chicken with Jerusalem Artichoke and Lemon

    • Servings: 4-6
    • Difficulty: easy
    • Print

     

    Roasted Chicken8 Roasted Chicken7

    • 1 lbs Artichokes, peeled and cut lengthwise so they are 2/3 thick
    • 3 tbsp lemon juice
    • 4 bone-in chicken breasts
    • 12 shallots, halved lengthwise
    • 12 large garlic cloves, sliced
    • 1 medium lemon, halved and thinly sliced
    • 1 tspn saffron threads
    • 3.5 tbsp of olive oil
    • 2/3 cup of cold water
    • 1.5 tbsp of crushed peppercorns
    • 1/4 fresh thyme
    • 1 cup of tarragon leaves, chopped
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

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    • Combine artichoke, water and half of the lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, and then lower to simmer for 10-20 minutes. If you are using canned or marinated artichokes, this is not necessary.

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    • Mix all ingredients (except the lemon juice and half of the tarragon) in a bowl. Cover and let marinade overnight, or at least 2 hours.

    • Preheat oven to 475degrees. Arrange chicken with the skin up in the center of the pan. Place the remaining ingredients around them.

    • Roast for 30 minutes uncovered.

    • Roast for additional 15 minutes, covered with foil or top, or until full cooked.

    • Add the reserve tarragon and lemon juice.

    Stir, taste and add salt if necessary.

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    Fava & Spring Vegetable Saute

    2 – 3 dozen fava bean pods
    large bunch fava leaves (optional)
    1/2  bunch asparagus
    1 zucchini
    6 large mushrooms
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tsp each  of fresh thyme and oregano
    Roasted Chicken4 Roasted Chicken3
     
    • Dice all vegetables (except for fava beans and leaves) and set aside.
    • Heat oil in a heavy pan and sauté garlic and diced vegetables. 

     

    • Add herbs, fava beans and leaves and stir until leaves are wilted.
    • Salt and pepper to taste.

     

    Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta”

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    Seared scallops with zucchini pasta

    Seared Scallops with Zucchini “Pasta” and Roasted Beet Salad

    Last summer, spent at our Maine house, was a balancing act when it came to dinner, which we rotated among friends and took turns hosting.  I had just begun the Good Mother Diet, my husband was protein heavy and mostly carb free and our friend, Rick went back to our ancestral roots with the Paleo diet.  Well here is a meal that satisfies all three!  The pasta is not real pasta, but noodles made by slicing zucchini into long, skinny spaghetti-like ribbons.  For this a mandolin works best, however, you can also use a grater, zester or potato peeler but it won’t look as nice.  If you want it to look even more like spaghetti, you can peel the zucchini before cutting it but I prefer to keep the skins (and vitamins) in the dish.

    This is my favorite way to prepare beets.  Roasting, rather than boiling, intensifies the color and flavor, plus it is by far the easiest way to remove the skin.  Using varieties with different colors makes for a prettier dish.  If making the entire meal, start by roasting the beets since that can take a half hour or so, depending on the size of your beets and get the zucchini ‘pasta’ going.  The beets can be made ahead of time and will last in the refrigerator several days.  The actual cooking time of everything else is pretty short and should be done just before serving.  Paleos, like Rick, should omit the pistachios, cheese and seasoning/salt.

    Serves 4

    Beet Salad

    Roasted Beet Salad

    4 beets

    1-2 Tbsn olive oil

    1 head butter lettuce (washed and separated)

    Vinaigrette ( ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ cup red wine vinegar, 1 Tbsn Dijon Mustard, salt and pepper)

    Feta (optional)

    • Cut leafy stalks off the beets, taking care not to cut into the flesh. (You want to keep all the juice inside).  Reserve leaves for another use or chop them and saute in olive or butter with garlic and serve on the side.

    raw beets Beet packages

    • Wash and dry beets but don’t peel them. (The peel will slide off easily after they are roasted).  Lay them on a large piece of aluminum foil. Brush them with olive oil and fold the foil up and seal into a leak-proof package, or you can use a covered baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until you can easily pierce them with a fork.  Larger beets can take up to an hour, so check often. Be careful when you open the pouches, as they will be very steamy and can burn your fingers.
    • Remove from heat and let cool.  Once they are cool enough to handle, slip the skins off by hand or with a papertowel.  (You will be surprised how easy it is).
    • Slice and serve with lettuce and sliced apple.  Drizzle with vinaigrette and top with feta, if desired.

    Roasted Beets

    Seared Sea Scallops and Zucchini “Pasta”

    1 lb large sea scallops

    2 Tbsn avocado oil (or another oil that does well in high heat)

    1/2 tsp creole seasoning (like Tony Chachere’s) or just salt and pepper

    ¼ cup white wine

    4 – 6 zucchini (depending on size)

    1 Tbsn olive oil plus 1 Tbsn butter (or all olive oil)

    ¼ cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped (Optional)

    2 oz parmesan, grated or thinly sliced Optional)

    • Using a mandolin, cut the unpeeled zucchini into thin pasta sized ribbons. (A grater or potato peeler will work as well). Place the ‘pasta’ strands on a papertowel and sprinkle with salt. . Cover
      with a papertowel and press down gently.  Let them ‘sweat’ for about 30 minutes to remove the extra moisture.

    zucchini noodlesPistachios

    • Toast the chopped pistachios in a small, dry pan on medium heat for a few minutes (until you can smell them cooking). Let cool.
    • Heat olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes.  Turn off the heat and add ‘pasta’ and pistachios. Toss gently.  Top with parmesan if desired..
    • Wash and dry scallops.  Put them in a bowl with the oil and seasoning.  Gently mix until scallops are coated. The oil should not pool in the bottom of the bowl.  Pour off excess oil that doesn’t mix back in. The scallops won’t sear if there is too much moisture or oil.
    • Heat a cast iron, or other skillet, on medium high to high heat.  The pan should be very hot.  Cook scallops in a single layer, without crowding.  You may have to cook them in two batches.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until golden brown.  Turn and cook the other side 2 minutes.
    • Remove scallops from the pan.  Add wine to the hot pan and stir to deglaze and reduce the liquid to make a sauce. If you overcook and too much liquid goes away, just add a bit of water.
    • To serve, place ¼ of the ‘pasta’ mixture on each plate.  Top with ¼ of the scallops.  Drizzle with wine sauce.

    Seared scallops with zucchini pasta