Thursday, January 30, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 28 & 29 Artichokes and Jalapeños

I didn’t freeze over in the snowpacalypse! We were however iced in for 2 days, so though I did have plenty of frozen veggies and greens, I didn’t have anything new to share. Today I will make up for 2 days! This tasty dip comes just in time for Super Bowl Sunday and features two tasty greens; artichokes and jalapenos. Artichokes are a great source of folic acid and an array of minerals and jalapenos are full of capsaicin. This dip is even easier to make then other artichoke dips and full of health fats and protein.

Blooming Artichoke Dip

Gluten Free

1 artichoke
1 bay leaf
2 jalapenos
1 tbl olive oil
1/3 cup brazil nuts
2 ½ tbl chevre
2 tbl water
½ tsp sea salt
1 orange bell pepper

Put the brazil nuts into a bowl of warm water and let them soak for 1-4 hours to soften up. Rinse the artichoke and cut off the stem to the base. Chop off the tip of the artichoke and any hard thorns. Steam the artichoke over a pot of water with a bay leaf in it until it is soft. Mine took about 30 minutes. You should be able to easily pull the center leaves apart, just watch out for steam. Let the artichoke cool. In the meantime, slice the jalapenos and mix with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and roast in the oven on 375oF for about 20 minutes until browned. Once the artichoke is cool enough to handle pull out the inner leaves. You can pull all of the leaves that feel tender, leaving a couple rows to make a ‘bowl’ out of the remaining artichoke. Add the inner leaves from the artichoke into a small food processor and blend until finely chopped. Set aside the chopped artichoke into a small mixing bowl. In the food processor add the drained brazil nuts, 2 tablespoons of fresh water, the chevre, and sea salt. Blend until somewhat smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Mix with the chopped artichoke and then put the dip into the artichoke bowl. Serve with sliced bell pepper.

Notes and Substitutions

  • If you cant find chevre then I imagine cream cheese would work.
  • This dip has some spice to it, if you don’t like spicy then deseed the jalapeno before roasting.
  • Cashews or macadamia nuts would work in place of the brazil nuts.

Chop the artichoke leaves

Blend the remaining inredients

What is your favorite dip recipe?

Monday, January 27, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 27 Leek

Most of the time I come across new vegetables while trolling the farmers market tables or getting a csa box. Less often I get a recipe that has an ingredient I haven’t heard of, and I have to go hunting. The later is the case when it came to leeks. Several years ago I got a modest soup recipe for ‘potatoes and leek soup’.  I had no clue what a leek was, lucky for me it wasn’t too hard to find. Of course it was one of those things that once you’ve heard of it, you start to see it everywhere. I realized I had seen this at the farmers market before, and I just thought it was an overgrown green onion, if those sorts of things exist. I came to love the subtle but powerful flavor of leeks and incorporate them regularly into my cooking.  They taste a bit like a green onion but not as strong and more complex. They are also nutritious and hold up well to storage.  I improved the classic potato and leek soup to use ingredients that were all found at the farmers market this week. Enjoy!

Early Spring Harvest Soup

Gluten Free
Serves 2-4

4 green onions
1 large leek
4 medium turnip roots
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil for the pan

Heat a little olive oil over medium in a pot. Add sliced green onions and sliced leeks. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add chopped turnips and chicken stock and simmer for about 20 minutes until the turnip are very soft. Let the soup cool some and then put it into a food processor or blender with a vent and blend until mostly smooth. If you have an immersion blender you could just use that. Return it to the pot and add the salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Notes and Substitutions

You could add any vegetables you like, try to get what is in season!

How do you like to eat leeks?

31 Days of Green: Day 26 Brussel Sprouts

Sorry for the late post. I curled up with Mercury and a good book last night and totally lost track of time, but it was the perfect way to spend a Sunday evening. Todays, or rather yesterdays, green is a favorite of both my husbands and me. Unlike asparagus, it does not freeze well so we anxiously wait for it to show up at the farmers market each year. The weather, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, has been pretty whacky so we had to wait extra long this year. It was worth the wait!
Brussel sprouts look a lot like tiny cabbages and have a similar but sweeter flavor.  They also have a similar nutrient profile. I think most people would agree that they are best roasted, and I’m not one to steam a veggie under some notion that its healthier that way, if you know what I mean.  Do yourself a favor and grab some brussels while the grabbing is good!

Lemon Pepper Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Gluten Free
Serves 2

¾ pound brussel sprouts
2 tbl grass-fed butter, melted
½ lemon, juiced
1 tsp ground black pepper
pinch salt

Mix the melted butter, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss the brussel sprouts in the mixture and then baked them on a parchment-lined baking sheet for about 25 minutes on 400oF, turning halfway through. They will smell delicious and be pleasantly brown when finished. This is a great side dish, or midday snack as we had them.

Notes and Substitutions

You could use olive oil or coconut oil in place of the butter

Do you like brussel sprouts?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 25 Asparagus

“Respecting the dignity of a spectacular food means enjoying it at its best.” That is a quote from one of my favorite books and it is about todays green. Do you know what it is? Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; and the green is asparagus! Ironically, Ms. Kingsolver is talking about why you should enjoy asparagus when it is fresh because of how much better it tastes, and the asparagus I used today was frozen! We try very hard to eat local and we are so lucky to live in an area that is able to produce a variety of edibles almost year round, however, thanks to the modern miracle of a freezer we do supplement these chilly months with freezer stash. My husband loves asparagus so I try to keep it in rotation throughout the year, however Ms. Kingsolver is right, nothing compares to truly fresh asparagus, not fresh from across the continent or world, but freshly cut that morning. When April hits we gorge on asparagus from the farmers market and that usually holds us over from wanting it for a while. We do this with lots of vegetables, like okra, we really know how to make you get sick of okra! She comments on this in the book too, as you begin to get sick of the vegetable it starts to go out of season, its kind of like its perfect right? Anyways, besides covered in butter, asparagus is great in quiche, raw on a salad, or chopped up in a sauté. The recipe I have today is another fun way to use up your asparagus and get a healthy dose of nutrients


Coconut Battered Asparagus Spears

Gluten Free, Vegan
Serves 2

20 slim asparagus spears
1/3 cup coconut flour
1 tbl Italian seasoning blend
½ tsp salt
1 tbl ground flax seeds
1 tbl coconut oil
5 tbls water

If your asparagus is frozen, thaw it out and pat it dry. Mix the coconut flour, herbs, and salt in a shallow dish. In a separate shallow dish, whisk together the ground flax seed, oil, and water. Dip each spear in the water mixture and then toss in the coconut flour to coat. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet for 12-15 minutes or until brown. Serve warm with dip!

Notes and Substitutions

  • You can use egg instead of the flax, and reduce the water to 2 tablespoons.
  • Season the coconut flour anyway you like.
  • I served this with honey mustard but any creamy style dip would be great.



What is your favorite way to eat asparagus? Do you have any favorite seasonal vegetables?

Friday, January 24, 2014

31 Days of Green: Day 24 Green Apple

Apples are a little gift from nature. They are sweet, nutritious, satisfying, and portable. The history of apples is pretty interesting; they aren’t just a gift from nature, but a plant that we’ve had a long history of breeding to perfection. There are lots of varieties of apples and not all of them are sweet. That’s okay though because one of my favorite treats, hard cider, is made from bitter apples. One in between apple is the green apple or sometimes called “granny smith” apple. It is sweet but has a nice tart bite to it, which makes it perfect for desserts. I love pairing the tartness of this apple with sweeter adornments; most apple pies will call for green apples because of this tartness and they also have a firmer texture that bakes well. We love apple pie, my grandmother made the best apple pie, I bet yours does too : )
Unfortunately I only take on the task of making a full apple pie around the holidays, not because its hard, its actually one of the easier desserts to make, but because it’s just the 2 and ¼ of us and we have would eat a whole pie if I cooked it. That doesn’t mean we don’t get our apple pie though; instead I make these mini ‘pies’. This recipe is so quick, delicious, and satisfying. Don’t let the word dessert fool you either; this is great breakfast food too!

Almond Apple Pie

Gluten Free, Vegan*
Serves 2

1 green apple
4 medjool dates, pitted and soaked
2 tablespoons almond butter
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla extract
coconut oil for the pan
chopped walnuts (optional)
thin slice of cheese (optional)*

Pit the dates and soak in about ½ cup of water until they are soft. At least 30 minutes should do it, but I left mine for several hours. In a small food processor or blender, blend dates, the water they were soaking in, almond butter, cinnamon, and vanilla until it is smooth (or as smooth as you can get it, don’t worry if there is some small chunks of dates). Core and thinly slice the apple. Rub a little coconut oil on the inside of 2 ramekins or cupcake pans. Place a few slices of apple into the bottom of the pans, then do a layer of the almond sauce. Continue doing layers until you reach the top, finishing with an almond sauce layer. Top with chopped walnuts or, if your from the south, a thin slice of cheese. Bake on 350oF for 15 minutes until the top begins to look a little dry. Let it cool for a few minutes and serve warm.

Notes and Substitutions

  • Though I haven’t tried it, you could use other nut/seed butters. I bet cashew butter would taste great.
  • I used a very thin slice of raw local grass-fed cheddar for the cheese. My husband really liked it, and though he’s from the south, he had never heard of apple pie with cheese.
  • You may have a few slices of apple or dip leftover, you can go ahead and eat those while you wait for these to finish baking : )
Make sauce
Make a layer of apple slices

Add a layer of sauce
Continue layering until you reach the top, finishing with the almond sauce

Add any toppings
Bake of 350oF for 15 minutes

What is your favorite way to eat apples?