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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Entries from August 1, 2009 - August 31, 2009


Summer Spaghetti with Zucchini-Cashew "Alfredo" Sauce (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free)

Every summer, we are left with more zucchini than we know how to eat, and we tire of it. We roast it, we saute it, we steam it. We shred it, slice it, and puree it. We use it like pasta, we add it to breads, we use it as filler in anything and everything. I've started using it in smoothies to get a nice creamy texture. It shows up everywhere.

I like pureeing raw zucchini, cooking the puree, and using it as a milk substitute in baked goods. Then not long ago, it dawned on me that this creamy zucchini "milk" could be used in place of milk in other things - like creamy soups, smoothies, or sauces. The idea for an alfredo-style cream sauce was born. I've been kicking around that concept for awhile, and finally had the chance to give it a shot last weekend when I was home visiting my family. The secret ingredient is soaked cashews, which add a rich flavor and velvety texture to our perennial garden favorite. Soaked and blended cashew cream does something magical when you cook it: it thickens, just like dairy does. Perfect for making thick sauces.

Creamy and rich, my zucchini-cashew "alfredo" sauce was the perfect finish to al dente brown rice spaghetti and an abundance of fresh farmer's market summer vegetables and garden herbs. The sauce had a great thick texture, creamy white color, and an awesome flavor, and was a breeze to make. It totally passed the test with my parents, who both went in for second helpings. My mom enjoyed it as is, but my dad, a true Wisconsite, added a bit of parmesan cheese to his bowl. What can I say, the man loves his cheese.
Besides loving my "alfredo" sauce, they were both really impressed with the Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti. So impressed, in fact, that I left them the rest of the package. I'm always trying to get them to eat less wheat, so I was happy to support future wheat-free meals! After they both noticed that they did not slip into a wheat pasta-induced food coma or suffered heavy cream sauce-induced digestive troubles after our lunch, I think wheat free meals will become a bit more frequent. As for me, I was thrilled and thought the whole meal was fabulous. This was the first "alfredo" style spaghetti I'd eaten in probably more than five years. I'd given up
cream sauces and pasta ages ago because they made me feel so dreadful. It was wonderful to eat creamy pasta and feel great, instead of wanting to go curl up and die somewhere! We all finished lunch satisfied and happy, and with just a little leftover.

I can't wait to try variations on the sauce (see below for my ideas). I think the sauce should freeze well, so make big batches with all that zucchini from your garden, and throw some in the freezer for another meal. The pasta-alfredo-vegetable formula has endless opportunity for variation - I can't wait to try other combinations! Boasting with fresh flavors and rich textures, this spaghetti alfredo is done right, done light, and done darn delicious. Even the leftovers were good - I ate them cold, on the road, driving back from Wisconsin to Minnesota. As I went into a gas station that had a McDonald's attached, and saw (and smelled) what everyone else was eating as road food along Hwy 29, I liked my spaghetti alfredo even more.

SUMMER SPAGHETTI WITH ZUCCHINI-CASHEW "ALFREDO" CREAM SAUCE (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free)
serves 4

8 oz Tinkyada brown rice spaghetti (or other tolerated pasta)
2 cups "alfredo" sauce (recipe below)
1 small or 1/2 large sweet onion
1 bunch Swiss chard (or spinach, kale, or other greens)
1 fennel bulb
1 small zucchini
4 small carrots
1-2 T olive oil
handful fresh basil leaves
optional garnishes:
torn basil
toasted cashews, pine nuts, or almonds

Prepare alfredo sauce according to directions below.

Prepare vegetables. Thinly slice onion. Remove rib from chard, and slice on diagonal into 1/2" slices. Cut the leaves in half lengthwise, stack, roll, then thinly slice across the roll to julienne. Quarter the fennel bulb, then slice. Slice the carrots into 1/4" diagonal slices. Slice the zucchini into 1/4" half moons. Thinly slice basil leaves.

Cook spaghetti according to directions on packaging, then rinse well with cool water.While spaghetti is cooking, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add onions, and saute a few minutes, then add chard ribs and carrots, and saute a few more minutes. Then add zucchini, and saute a few more minutes. When vegetables are nearly done, add chard leaves and a little water, cover, and steam until tender.

Add cooked pasta to saucepan with vegetables. Then add warm alfredo sauce and basil leaves, and stir to mix over low heat.  Transfer to serving bowl(s) and garnish as desired. Enjoy!
Possible variations:
  • Switch out your greens: use spinach, kale, or other greens in place of Swiss chard
  • Try using other combinations of vegetables: green, red, purple, or yellow peppers, eggplant, mushrooms, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, squash, pumpkin, shallots...
  • Garnish with chopped olives, capers
  • Season with other herbs, like dill, chives, or rosemary

ZUCCHINI-CASHEW "ALFREDO" CREAM SAUCE (gluten free, vegan, dairy free, soy free)
yield 2 cups

1 large zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped (about 3 cups chopped)
1/2 c raw cashews, soaked 2 hours
1 tsp dehydrated garlic flakes or 1-2 whole peeled garlic cloves
1 c water
1 T South River garbanzo bean miso (or soy miso, if tolerated)
salt and pepper, to taste

Soak the cashews in fresh water for 2 hours. Drain and rinse, and place in blender.

Peel and chop the zucchini, and add to blender with garlic and 1 c of water. Puree until totally smooth and creamy.  Transfer to saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until cooked through and thickened.

Right before serving, take out about 1/2 c of the sauce and stir in miso paste until evenly mixed. Add miso sauce back to saucepan and stir until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and keep warm on lowest heat until ready to serve.
Possible sauce variations:
  • Serve over pasta, grains, vegetables, or beans, use in casseroles or pot pies in place of "cream of whatever" soup, or use as a fondue style dip
  • use broth or stock instead of water for richer flavor
  • Béchamel-style sauce: omit garlic and add a pinch of nutmeg (start with 1/4 tsp)
  • Rich and creamy red sauce: puree in roasted red peppers or marinated sun-dried tomatoes
  • Wine sauce: try using a bit of white wine instead of water when blending
  • Creamy green goddess sauce: puree in greens and herbs
  • Mushroom sauce: add sauteed mushrooms to sauce, pureeing half of them and adding the other half to the saucepan
  • Onion sauce: add caramelized onions to blender and puree
  • Herb sauce: add a variety of fresh herbs
  • Vegetable sauce: for a chunky vegetable cream sauce, add finely chopped cooked vegetables to saucepan and cook with sauce - broccoli would be delicious!
  • Here's a total change of pace: what about omitting the garlic, adding vanilla, cocoa/carob, and a little sweetener of choice? It would be like a thick chocolate sauce. You could even use hot coffee or a grain-coffee substitute instead of water for a mocha effect. I NEED TO TRY THIS!


French Tuna Macaroni Salad with Anchovy Mustard Dressing (gluten free)

My week of housesitting is over, and yesterday I returned home to my humble apartment. It felt good to be back in my own space, and I enjoyed unpacking, making lunch in my own kitchen, and watching a documentary in my own living room. I returned home from this housesitting experience with a TON of great culinary inspiration - they have a large collection of cookbooks, which are now prominently displayed, unlike before. Not surprisingly, I delved in, looking at all sorts of cookbooks. I was especially charmed by the array of Indian and French cookbooks, as well as The River Cafe cookbooks (AWESOME). While most of the recipes in all the cookbooks I looked at required modification, or were completely off limits to me, that didn't stop me from relishing in the beautiful ingredients, the amazing colors, and inspiring techniques. After reading The French Kitchen and the River Cafe Cookbook Green, I was left dreaming of French and Italian cuisine. Anchovies, capers, and oil cured olives, tarragon and fresh parsley, fresh seafood and roasted chicken, and an abundance of fresh market vegetables danced through my thoughts.

The French and Italians seriously know what's up.
So, drawing on that inspiration, I decided to put a spin on the classic tuna macaroni salad that I am made for a friend's birthday BBQ last night. Tuna macaroni salad is a Midwestern standby at every potluck, church dinner, or BBQ. As a child, I did not like that salad at all, and was so happy to have a good reason NOT to eat it when I was vegetarian. Once I started eating meat again, I still wouldn't touch this salad. What is it? The basic framework is tuna, macaroni, and bunch of mayonnaise. The rest of the ingredients vary, depending on the cook, but it has been known to contain everything from peas, celery, and chunks of cheese (usually Velveeta) to green pepper or pickles. As for the seasonings, it is usually limited to salt and pepper. In my experience, every version of this salad I'd ever had included WAY to much mayonnaise, not enough seasonings, and far too few vegetables, and was simply heavy, creamy yuckiness. Blech.

I went for the opposite. My version is inspired by the flavors of French cooking, and is bright and sunny and light. Like its classic cousin, macaroni elbows (gluten free!) and canned tuna provide a base. But I embellished with crunchy slices of celery hearts, sweet pops of peas, and salty twangs of oil cured black olives and capers. Fresh parsley, tarragon, and dill from my garden add a fresh, green flavor, and I finished it off with a wickedly good anchovy and mustard dressing. The best part? The macaroni is totally outnumbered by the tuna and the green, green, green of veggies and herbs, and it doesn't leave you feeling heavy at all.
Seriously, canned tuna and elbow macaroni never had it so good. The salad was a hit at the party, and I took home *zero* leftovers. Nobody missed the mayonnaise or the gluten - I love feeding delicious, whole foods, gluten free things to unsuspecting people! Thankfully, I saved a little here at home for myself before taking it to the party - it will make for a great lunch next week.

Two things:
This recipe makes a large amount, about 3 quarts. So unless you are feeding a crowd , taking it to a potluck, or want some serious leftovers, I recommend halving the recipe. But then again, maybe not - it is really good, and you might just want to eat the whole batch!

This is not low sodium by any means - the anchovies, capers, olives, and fish sauce all have a significant amount of sodium. To reduce the amount of sodium, you can also use water or vinegar packed capers instead of salt packed; the flavor will be slightly different, but it will reduce the sodium. You can also omit the fish sauce if desired. Look for unsalted tuna, and rinse off the anchovies before using them in the dressing. I like going to Trader Joe's for both tuna and anchovies - their tuna is packed in just water or olive oil (no soy-based vegetable broth or other additives!), and their olive oil packed anchovies are really great too. And because it is Trader Joe's, you can get them for a great price! I used water packed tuna in this recipe, but olive oil packed would also be delicious. Oil packed tuna is richer and heavier, while water packed tuna is flakier and light - follow your personal preference.

yield: about 3 quarts

1 1/2 c dry (about 3 c cooked) brown rice elbow macaroni (or other tolerated pasta)
3 6-oz. cans water or olive oil packed tuna, drained
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
stalks from 1 celery heart, thinly sliced at diagonal (use 6-8 of the the inner tender stalks from a bunch of celery)
1 16 oz bag frozen peas, thawed
1/2 c oil-cured black olives, pitted
1/4 cup salt-packed capers
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
2-4 T fresh dill, minced
2 T fresh tarragon leaves, minced, or 2 tsp dry tarragon

Anchovy Mustard Dressing
1 tin olive oil-packed anchovies, rinsed
2 T prepared mustard
2 T raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg's or Eden Organics)
1/4 t vitamin C crystals dissolved in 2-4 T water OR juice from 1/2-1 lemon
1-2 T fresh dill weed
1/2-1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
1 clove garlic (optional)
2-4 T olive oil

Prepare dressing: rinse the anchovies, then put all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender, and blend until totally liquified. Gradually add the oil, and blend until emulsified and well combined; adjust seasonings to taste as desired. It should fairly thick, but still pourable; only add more oil or water as needed. Put in a small jar in the fridge until ready to use.

Prepare pasta: Next, prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the packaging. Cook only until just al dente, then strain and rinse well under cool water. DO NOT OVER COOK! After rinsing, put in a large bowl to cool, drizzle with just a little olive oil, and stir around to coat. Your pasta won't stick together as it cools this way!

Prepare the rest of the ingredients: Thinly slice shallots. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a small pan, and saute over medium heat until caramelly and brown. Add to bowl with pasta. Wash and thinly slice celery on a diagonal, pit and coarsely chop the olives, drain and break up tuna into small pieces, and measure peas and capers. Add everything to the bowl with pasta and shallots. Mince tarragon and dill, and also add to bowl. Toss ingredients gently a few times to mix, then pour on dressing and gently stir ingredients together until evenly moistened and mixed.
Transfer to serving bowl, cover, and chill for 1-2 hours to let flavors meld.
Serve and enjoy!


Easy Rice Cooker Vegetable Pullao (gluten free, vegan option)

In high school, between youth symphony rehearsal, viola lessons, school newspaper editing sessions, volunteer tutoring, and all my homework, I was a busy girl. A busy vegetarian girl. A busy vegetarian girl who wanted to eat all-natural foods and liked ethnic cuisine and vegetables. This only complicated matters - keep in mind, this was back in the mid-late '90s, in a conservative, blue-collar, medium-sized town in the heart of Wisconsin. Easy vegetarian options were not in abundance, nor were ethnic foods, and widespread awareness of such choices was somewhat minimal.

Sure, the grocery store had some veggie burgers and fake chicken nuggets, the occasional container of soy milk, containers of tofu, and a mediocre selection of all natural canned and boxed items (Annie's mac & cheese, Thai Kitchen noodle meals, etc), but the options were really limited and it was a generally bleak environment. So, my supportive parents and I bought cookbooks - my first one was Molly Katzen's classic Moosewood Cookbook. Like all fledgling vegetarians, I learned how to use tofu (tofu 'egg' salad!), cook with more beans (homemade felafel!), and tried out all sorts of interesting vegetarian recipes (mock duck curry!). And of course, I tried out every meat substitute and soy protein bar on the market (some of those were AWFUL!). These days, the climate in Oshkosh, Wisconsin is much improved, and the local grocery stores have definitely broadened their selection. Heck, you can get stuff in bulk, they have goat yogurt, and there are whole sections dedicated to gluten-free foods. Visiting home has become a much more enjoyable culinary experience in the last few years, especially after I started eating meat.

But back in the day, a highlight of my hometown grocery store's selection was these awesome frozen, bagged ethnic rice and vegetable dishes. I remember them being so delicious, and they were my standby meal solution after long. My favorite one was a pullao with lentils, currants, rice, onions, carrots, and loads of spices. There was also a tasty curry version with other veggies. I would add more vegetables or throw in chunks of tofu or veggie burgers, and eat up. I adored the spicy, exotic flavors, and since I had a serious fascination with all things from the Middle East and India (I thought myself quite worldly), eating food inspired by those ethnic cuisines only fueled my adolescent curiousity for all things exotic. Additionally, and most importantly, they provided good vegetarian nourishment - those thing got me through a substantial part of high school, and I actually missed them when I left for college. I tried recreating such dishes in the woks in my college cafeteria, and with my rice cooker or hot pot in my dorm room. Sadly, dorm fridges don't allow the freezer space necessary for frozen bagged meals.

Thankfully, the days of makeshift dorm room cooking are over, and I have a real kitchen all to myself that I can cook in. And I've seen similar looking frozen rice & veg meals at Trader Joe's, but I've never tried them. Why? Because now I know that it is totally simple to make your own pullao, much cheaper, and more friendly for those of us with dietary restrictions. I can't use a lot of the spices traditionally used in different pullaos and biryanis, like cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, or ginger. Because I have a edited assortment of spices that work for me, I come up with my own combinations and modify other recipes. This pullao is a mixture of cumin, fennel, cardamom, peppercorn, saffron, and star anise. Yum.

For the vegetables, I used a combination of green cauliflower and zucchini, but this recipe could handle just about any veg you'd throw at it. I honestly had the largest yellow zucchini I've ever seen to use - this recipe made nary a dent in that thing. It rained here last week, and I was busy with class and a wedding, and didn't get to my garden for about 6 days. I returned to see the monster in the picture to the left. It is like a roast or a ham or something. It was challenging to hold it up for the photo! Anyway, I also wanted to add peas, but I am housesitting and forgot that I don't have my normal stash of frozen peas. Next time, maybe with some squash, or carrots. Get creative, or just clean out your crisper drawer or CSA box, anything will work. I also decided to throw in some dried fruit and nuts, like many traditional pullaos. For dinner, I opted for raisins and sunflower seeds, but you could try any combination of fruits and nuts/seeds. How about dried apricots and almonds? Or golden raisins and cashews? Or goji berries and pumpkin seeds? The opportunities are endless! Or don't add them at all, and stick with just rice and veggies.

Either way, the finished dish will be beautiful - the vegetables and whole spices look like jewels peeking out between the grains of rice. Serve this pullao as a simple meal on its own, with a salad, along side a protein dish, or with stewed, sauteed greens. Nicely spiced, full of veggies, and with a hint of sweet from the dried fruit, and a nutty flavor from the toasted seeds, this recipe is a winner. I can't wait to eat leftovers tomorrow for lunch - I plan to garnish it with cashews and dried apricots, and eat with a side of collards. Yum.
The best part about this recipe is that it is EASY - I cheated and cooked it in a rice cooker, which was totally simple, and yielded perfectly cooked rice. If you eat gluten free, and you don't have a rice cooker, you really should. It is truly heaven-sent - rice cooks quickly, perfectly, and easily, every time.

If you like Indian food, check out this link. It has tons of great Indian rice, bean, and vegetable dishes, as well as sweet treats. Some don't work with a lot of restrictions, but many do, so check it out! 
EASY RICE COOKER VEGETABLE PULLAO (gluten free, vegan option)
serves 4

1 c brown basmati rice
2 T coconut oil or ghee/butter (I used a bit of both)
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
6 green cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 star anise
2 whole cloves (if tolerated, I didn't include, but if you can, do it!)
1 cinnamon stick (if tolerated, I didn't include, but if you can, do it!)
10-12 whole peppercorns
pinch saffron
3-4 c chopped assorted vegetables (zucchini, cauliflower, peas, carrots, green beans, eggplant, peppers, etc)
2 c water
1/4 c raisins, currants, goji berries, or snipped dried apricots
1/4 c chopped almonds, cashews, or sunflower or pumpkin seeds

Rinse and soak rice for 6-8 hours. After soaking, rinse well and drain.

In a large saucepan, heat up oil. Add spices, and saute for a 2-3 minutes over medium heat. Add chopped onion and garlic, stir to coat with oil, and saute for 2-3 more minutes. Add drained rice and chopped vegetables and peas, stir, and saute for about 5 minutes.

Put saffron in 1 1/2 c water and let soak while the veggies are sauteeing. Transfer the rice/veg mixture to the rice cooker and add the saffron water. Deglaze the saucepan by adding the remaining 1/2 c water to the saucepan and bringing it to a boil, scraping off any pieces of onion or spices that may have stuck to the pan, then pour it into the rice cooker with the rest of the ingredients.

Place cover on rice cooker, and set to cook following rice cooker instructions. Sit back and relax while your kitchen fills with the perfume of fragrant spices. After rice has finished cooking, leave cover on, and let it steam undisturbed for about 20 minutes.

Lightly saute chopped nuts and fruit in little oil/butter for a few minutes, then remove from heat. Fluff steamed pullao, and transfer it to large serving dish or make individual servings. Garnish pullao with nuts and fruit, then serve!



Homemade Buckwheat Honey Mustard (gluten free)

I love mustard, and have wanted to try making my own. I didn't eat mustard for a long time because of the ACD diet, and now I'm only eating commercial varieties made with apple cider vinegar. Eden Organics makes one, and oddly enough, the Roundy's store brand here in the Midwest also makes an organic ACV mustard that is pretty great. I have a recipe that uses whey and ground dry mustard from Nourishing Traditions that I'd like to try (especially since I now have a bunch of whey strained from my raw goat milk yogurt). But over the weekend, I came across a homemade mustard recipe on the fiercely awesome local food website Simple, Good, and Tasty, and couldn't resist trying it, especially after seeing their suggestion for honey mustard.

Why, you ask? Because I have a new jar of delicious local honey burning a hole in my apron pocket. This was the first honey I'd purchased in about a year and half, and I am thrilled that my body can finally handle a little bit of honey here and there. So, when I was at the farmer's market last week, I stopped at the Ames Farm honey tent, and participated in a little honey lovefest. Ames Farm is a local Minnesota honey producer, with over 300 hives across our great state. Their honeys are all single source, all raw, all amazing, and are my absolute favorite honeys on the planet. In addition to honeys like Dutch Clover, Basswood, and Thistle, they have a lot of unusual honeys varieties, like Melon Flower, Wild Bergamont, Milkweed, and Boneset, to name a few. Each single source honey has its own unique flavor, and each jar comes labeled with a hive number that you can track on their website to find the exact geographical source of your jar of honey. Depending on the year and the season, they have more or less of certain varieties, a true reflection of what bounty nature has to offer. I've been spoiled the last 5 years having access to so many amazing varieties; I've been totally ruined on most commercially produced honeys. The best part is visiting their booth at the market, because you can sample just about everything.

While I really love all those lighter colored honeys, there truly is a special place in my heart for buckwheat honey. Thick and dark, pungeant and unusual, there is something almost primordial about buckwheat honey. It makes me think of the La Brea tar pits, of cooling lava, of oil, of all those dark earthly materials that are rooted in the most basic processes of our ecosystem. Buckwheat honey is like black gold. The great thing about buckwheat honey is that it has such a strong flavor that you don't need much - a little goes a long way. This is especially great for those of us that need to watch our sugar intake! And to top it off, buckwheat honey provides the most antioxidants and is high in iron.

This year, Ames Farm has three varieties of buckwheat honey, all with their own unique flavor. After appreciatively trying all three, I purchased a little jar of the Blue Earth Buckwheat. The flavor really resonated with me, and the cute honey salesman seemed charmed by my wild enthusiasm for their product. What can I say, I'm an eager farmer's market shopper, and have an undeniable attraction to men selling agricultural items from tents and tables.

Okay, so back to the mustard. I decided to take an uncommon approach and use a bit of my buckwheat honey in the mustard recipe instead of a light honey, with some added allspice and turmeric. The result was an awesomely tasty mustard, with a whole lot of punch and just a hint of a dark, mysterious sweetness. The honey balances out the mustard's fire, and the pungent flavor of the buckwheat compliments the turmeric and allspice. I didn't add a lot of honey - only about 2 Tbwp - because I didn't want too much sugar. But if you like a sweeter honey mustard, go hog wild - Simple, Good and Tasty recommends mixing honey and mustard at a 1:1 ratio. Whether you add a little or a lot of honey, it is sure to please. The texture is rustic; it is nubby and grainy, like all those delicious French whole grain mustards. And while the flavor is so complex, the ingredients are remarkably simple. I was really impressed, and honestly, I've tasted a lot of mustards - trying out new mustards used to be one of my little culinary addictions. And let me tell you, this mustard definitely, uh, cuts the mustard.
I know, I know, that was terrible. I promise, the mustard is better than my corny sense of humor. I smeared some of my fresh mustard on a turkey burger, and used a little more mixed with flax oil as a sauce on roasted pattypan squashes and brussels sprouts. It was divine. And better yet, it is wildly, wildly, wildly simple. If you can run a blender, you can make your own mustard. Make it as directed below, or throw your own spin on the recipe - it could handle any number of variations on spices and flavorings. I'd love to try something with dill. Or maybe something with fruit - what about raspberry mustard? And I have this great concept for something I'm calling "mistard" - a miso-mustard fusion. Stay tuned.

Want plain mustard?
No problem! If you prefer to make mustard without the honey, feel free to omit it.  Add spices as desired, or leave plain. Plain mustard with only mustard seeds, water, and vinegar is still totally delicious, and how I make it most of the time.   

Tell me, what kind of mustard do you like?

To find out if you can get Ames Farms honeys in your area, check this list of Ames Farm retail locations.

Homemade Buckwheat Honey Mustard

yields about 12 oz

If you want plain mustard, feel free to omit the honey and spices. It is delicious!  

1/2 c whole yellow mustard seeds
3/4 c raw apple cider vinegar (Bragg's or Eden Organics)
1/3 c water + 3 T water
2 T buckwheat honey (or more if you have a sweet tooth, or none at all if you want plain mustard)
1 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
1/4 + 1/8 tsp allspice (optional)
1/2 tsp Herbamare or sea salt (optional - I generally do not add it)

Place mustard seeds, apple cider vinegar, and 1/3 c water in a jar. Cover tightly, and let sit on the counter for 2 days.

Dump mustard mixture, honey, turmeric, allspice, sea salt and 1-2 T of water in a blender. Pulse a few times, then mix until it reaches desired consistency. Add additional 1 T of water if needed, and adjust seasonings to taste.

Store in a well sealed jar in the fridge.



Garlic-Chive Parsnip Mash (gluten free, vegan)

Tonight, I didn't feel like cooking, I just wanted something easy, something comforting, something quick. The wedding this past weekend was a blast, but left me exhausted. Now I'm housesitting for a coworker and his wife, and while their home is beautiful and comfortable, it is always a bit exhausting moving to a new place for a week. So, I threw together this quick and easy parsnip mash, flavored with chives from my garden a sprinkling of high quality dried garlic granules. Next time, when I feel like cooking, I'll mash in roasted garlic cloves instead of dried garlic. Then these will really sing.

Nubby and chunky, a little sweet, a little salty, and full of flavor, this hit the spot. I put a big scoop on a bed of arugula, and with a few handfuls of roasted cashews, it was the perfect simple dinner. I really recommend the mixture of parsnip and arugula - delicious. And on an unrelated note, I'm going to photograph food here as much as I can over the next week, because the natural light in the kitchen around 6 pm is heavenly, isn't it?

Garlic-Chive Parsnip Mash

serves 2

2 large parsnips
1/4 c minced fresh chives
1/4 tsp dried garlic granules
1-2 T olive oil
sprinkling Herbamare or sea salt, to taste

Scrub and peel parsnips. If they are very large, slice in quarters lengthwise and remove woody core. Then slice into 1/4 inch slices.Steam parsnips for 10-15 minutes, or until totally soft. While parsnips steam, mince chives.
Place steamed parsnips in large bowl, and coarsely mash with a fork or potato masher. Add olive oil, garlic, Herbamare/sea salt, and chives, and mix until combined.

Adjust seasonings to taste, and serve immediately. Or, follow one of my lovely suggestions below this photo for some inspiration on other ways to use this...

  • Serve over a bed of raw arugula or spinach, or on warm sauteed greens.
  • Use as a topping for shepherd's pie
  • Stuff zucchini or portobello mushrooms with it
  • Serve as a side dish instead of mashed potatoes
  • If you're a dairy eater, mix in a bit of crème fraîche, sour cream, or yogurt
  • Mix leftovers with any other leftover roasted or sauteed vegetables, beans and/or leftover cooked meat, and your favorite broth for a quick soup
  • Puree with white beans for a delicious vegetable dip or sandwich spread
  • If you can eat gluten, try using it as a stuffing for making your own ravioli - I've heard wonton wrappers work great.
  • Eat plain, right out of the bowl, because it is just that good : )
  • Mix with other seasonings - Add a big spoonfull of your favorite pesto. Try using rosemary instead of chives, or fresh parsley. Dill would be lovely as well. Or perhaps some chopped up marinated sun-dried tomatoes? Get creative.