whole foods and beyond....nourishing the body, spirit and soul

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"hard-up week"

for some reason i feel renewed excitement when my refrigerator is full. and not just stocked, i mean like stuffed to the gills. i even look forward to my day of grocery shopping. packing up my little man and trekking out to our local market, where we get lost in endless aisles of natural organic goodness....what could be better!? i come home and feel completely accomplished as i organize my groceries to perfection while they get nessled in the refrigerator. as the door closes, i sigh in relief that i now have endless possibilities for my family and me to deliciously stay nourished through out the week.

yes, these are my favorite shopping trips. on the weeks when i have the extra money to spare, i stock up on everything my heart desires. all this, for just two adults and a baby! i usually have one to two trips to the store like this a month. on the other trips, i just buy the essentials and try to use up the other ingredients i have hiding in my cupboards. this is what my grandma always referred to as "hard-up week." this is what my fridge looks like after a shopping trip on hard-up week:

only picking up enough things to keep us moving through the week, i get nervous about the small amount of food before i even leave the check out line. (by the way, the large amount of eggs is due to my husband's obsession, and incredibly large appetite. its normal for him to eat a twelve egg omelette!) but on weeks like this i am challenged farther to create more creative dishes out of the minimal fresh produce combined with the dry ingredients like grains, nuts and dried fruits that have been waiting to be used. so in the creative spirit, i needed to think of another item to feed my hungry husband last night at dinner. on a stocked up week, i would have never thought of making this. but with all the gluten free flours i have, just waiting to be used, i thought why not attempt making a fresh bread to go with our dinner of pasta cashew-alfredo with sundried tomatoes and olives, and balsalmic asparagus. after all, a nice piece of crusty bread would be just a dream come true to soak up all those delicious juices!

this is the first piece of french bread ive had in five years....and it hit the spot! nothing brings me back to my memories of visiting greece like having a piece of fresh bread to dip in olive oil. making this recipe proved to be really close to my heart:)...and a delightful surprise on "hard-up week!"

you can find the original recipe here. below is my version with a few changes to adapt to the ingredients i had in my kitchen.

1 c brown rice flour
1 c sorghum flour
1 c tapioca flour
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbs sugar
1 1/2 c warm water
2 tbs yeast
2 tbs butter, melted
3 egg whites, beaten slightly
1 tsp vinegar

*dissolve sugar in water and add the yeast.

*in a separate bowl, combine the flours, xanthan gum and salt.

*once the yeast mixture has foamed (it should take about five minutes) blend the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. 

*blend in the butter, egg whites and vinegar. beat for three minutes.

*spoon dough onto a greased baking sheet, dusted with almond meal, into two french loaves. (i covered my hands with olive oil and shaped the loaves with my fingers.)

*slash diagonally with a knife every two inches.

*cover dough and let rise in warm place for 20-25 minutes.

when your loaves are done rising, it should look like this

*bake for 40-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

take one bite of this crusty bread and be transported to your wildest gluten free fantasies.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

sauerkraut and mashed potatoes

st. patrick's day is such a fun holiday, but i just never understood the excitement behind eating corned beef sandwiches. or drinking green beer. so today my husband and i are going to celebrate with a rawesome meal of purple sauerkraut and "mashed potatoes". ive been making a lot of sauerkraut lately, and thoroughly enjoying all of its probiotic properties. not to mention the way it just catapolts you to "having a screw loose" kind of crazy when you have weird jars of things fermenting around the house. my usual spots are in the coat closet, my bedroom closet and under the kitchen sink. and when chaz sees those jars, he usually determines to avoid them at all cost cuz they weird him out. more fermented food for me!


the tang of sauerkraut has become irresistible to me. it works as a fantastic condiment and ive found ways to incorporate it into some of the most unlikely meals. my latest craze has been eating it alongside crispy roasted sweet potatoes...i know, ive got a screw loose.

1 head of caggage
1 tbs sea salt

*shred all the cabbage through a food processor, except for two of the outer leaves.  

*place in a large bowl and sprinkle the sea salt evenly through out. take a few minutes to massage all the salt in while pouring some love on it through your fingertips. the salt will draw out all the natural liquid in the cabbage, creating a brine. place a plate on top of the cabbage with a weight holding it down for a half hour to really push the liquid out. 

*place cabbage in a clean glass jar and use the end of a wooden spoon to pack it all in tightly. its important that everything is submerged under the liquid, so if you need more, add a little bit of spring water. when you get to the top of the jar, use the outer leaves to cover the shredded cabbage and keep it submerged. 

*twist the lid on the jar tightly and leave to ferment in a cool dark place for about four days. when anything is done fermenting it will definitely have a pungent smell, but it shouldnt smell rotten. also the colors of the food will intensify, so if you see browns and blacks, you might need to review the play book.

i originally found this recipe in the book Evie's Kitchen by: Shazzie which is one of my favorite books! i read over and over all the time to keep me motivated. i changed a few things around, and this delicious masterpiece, reminiscent of creamy mashed potatoes with parmesan cheese melted through, is what i came up with!

4 parsnips
1/4 of a head of cauliflower
1/3 c cashews, soaked for at least half hour
1/2 an onion
2 cloves garlic
2 dates
1/4 c olive oil
1/4-1/2 c water
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp sea salt 

*pulse the parsnips and cauliflower in a food processor until fine and crumbly.

*drain and rinse the cashews. add everything to the blender except the olive oil. blend until creamy. blend in the olive oil.

*serve immediately, warm in the dehydrator, or even serve it cold right out of the fridge!

for the garnish in the picture i used shredded zucchini. marinated kale would be a great choice for a true st patrick's celebration:)