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Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's for lunch?

Home alone on Saturday morning after 6 days of traveling, I was anxious to go grocery shopping to make myself a nourishing gluten free lunch. Since I was cooking just for myself, I could make something that Allen doesn't like--it had to be butternut squash and kale. This is the end of February, after all, and there is not much fresh happening out there. However, winter squashes and brassicas are still great this time of year and they are two of my favorites vegetable groups.

Slice the ribs from the kale and cube the squash in roughly 3/4 inch cubes. Sautee them together over medium heat in 1 teaspoon of grapeseed oil with a handful of chopped onions. To serve 4, use 3 cups of cubed squash and 8 or 9 ribs of kale. When the squash is still firm, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, sage, and dried orange peel, and 1/4 teaspoon of lemon pepper. When the squash and stems are nearly done, add another half of an onion cut in rings, the leaves of the kale, and 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar and cook this covered just until the kale leaves turn bright green.

Meanwhile, I was cooking a combination of brown rice and quinoa. To cook these grains together, start the rice ahead of the quinoa: Bring 2 cups of broth to boil and add 1/2 cup of short grain brown rice and reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pan. After 7 minutes, add 1/2 cup of rinsed quinoa to the rice, cover the pan again with a tight fitting lid and put it on the lowest heat until the liquid is absorbed. This combination is really good if you use mushroom broth for the liquid.

Serve the lunch in a flat bowl with 1 cup of the vegetables alongside 1 cup of the grains. Garnish the grains with a few sprinkles of black sesame gomasio, or toasted sesame seeds. A few slices of organic red pepper add another nice flavor. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of my famous white sauce over the cooked foods and enjoy!

Valentine's Day Treat

This is Andrea's buckwheat crepe recipe adapted to make it vegan. The filling is sauteed shitake mushrooms, fresh sage leaves, shallots, white wine and my famous white sauce. The crepe is filled and garnished with the famous white sauce and shitake mushroom caps. The buckwheat makes the crepes dark, but I used mushroom broth for most of the liquid in making the batter, which makes them even darker.

The golden potatoes with onions were carmelized and then deglazed with more of that white wine. Thanks for the idea, Andrea!

This Valentine's Day came on the heels of our second major blizzard of the season. Since I needed to make more cupcakes to take to our fabulous neighbor with the front end loader (Thanks, Matt), Allen got brunch as well as cupcakes for the event.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome to Roots, Fruits, Leaves, and Seeds

February 7, 2010: Day two of the Blizzard of 2010 in Northern Virginia. The storm started Friday around noon. Less than 20 hours later, we had approximately 31 inches of new snow and blizzard conditions. Nik was snowed in at his mountain home in West Virginia; Sarah's flight was cancelled from Dallas to BWI and Nathan was home with us. Andrea and Ralph were soaking up the rays in Florida with Bonnie and Ralph.

When I wasn't shoveling snow, I was busy experimenting in the kitchen and working on my new cookbook. Two full days in the kitchen has resulted in a number of successes. Success in our kitchen is tied to a plant based diet free of gluten, soy, dairy, and eggs. I'll be telling you more about that as we get to know each other.

For now, enjoy the picture I took during the storm and take a look at one of this weekend's successes: English Muffins.

Here are the English Muffins--full of nooks and crannies, slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and airy on the inside. Recipe will be posted soon.