Thursday, 22 January 2015

Creamy Waldorf Salad with Kale

Always looking for another salad to keep my family interested in eating them, I recently decided to try my hand at the infamous Waldorf salad.

Created in the 1800's at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel by its maitre d'hotel, the Waldorf salad contained fresh apples and celery dressed with mayonnaise and served on a bed of lettuce.  By the 1920's walnuts were added as a garnish.  In my childhood, I can remember eating the Waldorf with grapes and chicken added to the salad.

To keep the apples from turning brown, I tossed mine in apple cider vinegar.  Using unpasteurized cider vinegar adds beneficial microbes to the salad, as well.  I also like the sweetness and colour of the grapes; the crunch of celery and the bite of a few green onion.  Walnuts or any nut is optional to add a bit of protein and essential fatty acids.  Finally, instead of serving on the traditional bed of lettuce I chopped up kale and add directly to the salad.  The whole family thought it was yummy! This is my version of the Waldorf, the family liked it and I hope you do too!

  • 3 tsps. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • 2 medium sized red apples, diced
  • 1 cup of red seedless grapes, sliced in half
  • 2 small celery stalks, finely diced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks of kale, chopped
  • 3 Tbsps. of walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 2 Tbsps. whole-egg mayonnaise
  • pinch of salt and pepper to taste

Wash and chop the apples and toss with the apple cider vinegar.  Then chop the celery, green onion and walnuts and add them to the apples.  Slice the grapes and add to the bowl.  Finally, wash the kale, remove the stems and chop; add the mayonnaise, salt, and pepper to the salad and gently toss to combine.

Yield:  Serves 4

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Bone Broths

Naked chicken broth.

I have been making my own stocks for years and freezing them to use in soups but lately I have been making smaller batches and starting my day with a cup of broth instead of coffee.  I probably won't do this everyday but when the mood strikes me, it is easy to pop the ingredients into the slow cooker for a couple of days and then strain to drink.

Homemade broth have a lot of vital nutrients.  They are good for gut health and are rich in glucosamine and chondroitin which are good for skin, bones and cartilage; and both of which are very expensive to buy in pill form if you wish to take as a supplement.

Beef broth with a side of avocado on chia seed crackers.

  • 1 small bag of beef bones or chicken bones
  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, peeled or scrubbed if organic
  • 2 stalks of celery, broken up to fit the pot
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 3 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs each of thyme, rosemary, sage, & parsley
  • 2 Tbsps. of apple cider vinegar
  • unrefined sea salt to taste
  • Enough filtered water to cover ingredients in pot

Prepare vegetables and place with bones in a slow cooker for 24 - 48 hours.  Strain, cool and portion into containers.  I strain the bones and vegetables and then strain again through fine muslin cheesecloth to take out the finer bits.  After refrigeration, simply skim off any hardened fat that has risen to the top.  Reheat and enjoy!

The yield will depend on the size of the slow cooker and the amount of liquid you add to the pot.  I usually can make a couple of litres in a small slow cooker with a handful of beef bones or the carcass of one small chicken.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Asian Beef & Veggie Meatballs

This meatball recipe is amazing!  I have been making it for over a year in large batches for the freezer for quick lunches.  I put a huge effort into my kids' lunches and often make things ahead in bulk and freeze so I can just take out and assemble the night before.  They love these and they are so easy to make.  Why not send these to school on a bed of cauliflower rice?  Yum!

  • 1.75-2 kilograms of ground beef
  • 1 medium sized carrot, peeled and grated
  • 1 medium sized zucchini, grated
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 inches of ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small bunch of flat leafed parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 6 Tbsps. mirin
  • 6 Tbsps. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsps. sesame oil (optional)

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients until completely combined.  Roll into balls, approximately the size of a golf ball (meatballs will shrink a bit when cooked).  Bake on baking paper lined cookie sheets for approximately 30 minutes at 400 degrees F (200C).

I portion these babies into small baggies and top with a little hoisin sauce, sweet chilli sauce or homemade teriyaki sauce.  They freeze well.  I take out the night before to pop in the kids' lunches the next morning.

Yield:  40-45 good sized meatballs

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Creamy Coleslaw with Kale

Coleslaw is one of my favourite side dishes.  It is sweet, tangy, crunchy, and colourful - I always have the ingredients in my refrigerator.  This recipe is an old favourite with a new ingredient - kale. Kale is incredibly nutritious and it pairs well with cabbage especially since it is very close to the cabbage family.

I have been using kale in smoothies, stir fries and now in salads.  My kids love this coleslaw and the kale didn't phase them a bit.  The lemon zest adds a freshness to the salad that makes it worth your while digging out a lemon just to get at the skin.  I choose to add apple cider vinegar to my dressing instead of using the whole lemon, partly because I prefer the cider vinegar taste but especially because I use cider vinegar with 'mother' - imparting extra beneficial microbes to the dressing.

  • 3 Tbsps. of whole egg mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar - preferably unpasteurized
  • 2 tsps. cane sugar, maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp. grainy Dijon mustard
  • The zest of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 of a medium head of cabbage - shredded
  • 1 medium sized carrot - shredded
  • 4 curly leaf kale leaves - shredded

In a large bowl, whisk mayo, vinegar, sugar, mustard, lemon zest and seasonings until smooth.  In the same bowl, add the cabbage, carrot and kale.  Toss together until well combined.

Refrigerate for up to 4 days.  Serves about 4 depending on your serving sizes but we rarely have much left over after supper.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Garden Love

I'm thinking fermented sriracha sauce for this lot.
Since moving, I have inherited a very small garden plot in my sunny back yard.  After a good clean out, I have salvaged a couple of chilli pepper plants and planted tomatoes, zucchini, bush beans, sweet corn, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives and basil.  So far things are looking good, especially after spreading a bag of sheep manure over the lot to give them a good boost. 

I have big plans for fermented hot sauces; zucchini and basil pesto noodles; steamed sweet corn on the cob; and beautiful salads with fresh picked cherry tomatoes.  We will see how far the weather and bugs let me go with my master plan.  

So far I am enjoying an abundance of basil and am using all my herbs for seasoning my bone broths and my roasted veggies.  Something has been nibbling on my tomatoes but I can't find any beasts in my garden so can't take any action as of yet.

Baby zucchini earmarked for 'noodles' highlighted with basil pesto.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Fresh Cauliflower Tabbouleh

After a big interstate move over the Christmas holidays, we have finally unpacked just about everything once and I am back in the swing of cooking and experimenting with new recipes.  Over the last six months I have tried to up my cauliflower consumption by trying out different recipes with marginal success. 

I can't say I am a fan of cooked cauliflower.  I do like soup but the kids are that big on it and I can't eat it all on my own.  Steamed cauliflower is a little repulsive to me and the kids don't seem to appreciate it roasted.

With the rising popularity of Paleo recipes, there are more and more cauliflower used in place of rice or grains.  I happen to love raw cauliflower so the Paleo way of eating cauliflower interested me.  I loosely followed a Paleo diet 10ish years ago when I was seeing a Naturopath for a suspected dairy allergy.  The Paleo recipes I was given were okay but did not have near the variety or creativity that we are now experiencing.

Our first try at cauliflower rice was a success giving it a gentle stir fry along with some veggies.  Next I went for raw cauliflower in place of bulgur in our tabbouleh.  I was surprised this recipe was embraced by the family and slowly have been increasing the amount of parsley until everyone was eating huge portions of it as their side with dinner.  This one is especially good with a side of roasted sweet potato or pumpkin along with your protein.  This kind of hot and sweet veggie side balances out the acidity of the dressing in the raw tabbouleh.

I have swapped out a more traditional lemon juice for the apple cider vinegar with mother in order to get a bit more beneficial microbes.  If you prefer the lemon then feel free to sub it back into the recipe for the dressing or use it interchangeably or half and half.  The sumac is unnecessary but has a tangy interesting flavour and I like it.  Hopefully you will enjoy it too!

  • ½ medium head of cauliflower, washed and cut into florets
  • 1/8 cup of unpasteurized apple cider vinegar with mother
  • 1/3 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp. of natural honey or natural cane sugar
  • ½ tsp. of natural sea salt  
  • ½ tsp. sumac (optional)
  • ¼ tsp. of pepper
  • 6 medium sized tomatoes, largely diced
  • 1 whole cucumber largely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, largely diced
  • 1 bunch of flat-leafed parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of basil, washed and finely chopped
  • 3 green onions, finely sliced

In a large bowl, chop the tomatoes, bell pepper and cucumber.  Next, finely chop the green onion, parsley and basil.  Then in a food processor, process the cauliflower until it resembles the size of rice grains.; I usual pulse gently until the correct size is achieved.   Transfer the cauliflower to the large bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

To make the dressing, whisk together the cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, sumac, salt, pepper, and honey.  Pour the dressing over the vegetables and mix until well combined.

This usually serves  six  people depending on the serving size.