Garlic is incredibly versatile, and a great complement to just about any food. There are hundreds of varieties available, but the type of garlic you use, its age, and how you store it can have a big impact on the final dish.
The good news? It's actually quite difficult to mess up your dish by adding garlic - simply because it will still be delicious.
Roasted garlic is an easy win on flavor, but did you know that the health benefits of garlic are far greater when you slice into it?
How does it work?
When garlic is crushed, grated, chopped, or minced, the enzyme allinase converts alliin into allicin. Through a series of chemical reactions, it releases its' defense mechanism, which is responsible for unleashing those cholesterol and blood pressuring lowering capabilities, along with reducing risk for developing some cancers.
Keep in mind that you'll want to wait about 10-15 minutes before using to maximize on those health properties. You'll also want to bear in mind that too much heat can kill the allicin, which is what you want to retain. If you eat the garlic raw OR wait at least 10-15 minutes before heating -cooking- the garlic, you're good to go.
Interestingly, the health benefits may also hold true with other sulfur containing foods like cruciferous vegetables. You know these guys. Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and broccoli are just a few of my favorites from this category of vegetables. The link is allicin, which is a general name for a class of sulfoxides.
Now, for some garlic inspiration: Homemade mock duck
Mock duck, the ultimate wheat 'meat'
Mock duck, also known as seitan, is wheat gluten made from gluten, which is the primary protein that makes up wheat. When wheat flour dough is washed in water, all the starch is removed and the gluten remains. When prepared correctly, it looks incredibly similar to meat, which is why it has taken the stage for many meat substitutes. As an added bonus, it's incredibly high in protein and low in fat.
One ounce of vital wheat gluten roughly contains 104 kcal and 21 g protein.
Who said vegans can't eat enough protein? If they're eating this, they are likely meeting their nutritional protein needs.
But how do you make it?
Mock duck, the recipe
Makes 8 servings
2 cups vital wheat
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp ginger, grated
1 1/4 cup vegetable stock
3 tbsp tamari
2 tsp sesame oil
4 cups vegetable stock
1/4 cup tamari
kombu or other seaweed (optional)
1" knob ginger
In a bowl, combine vital wheat, garlic, and ginger.
In pot, heat vegetable stock with tamari and sesame oil. Just before it comes to a boil, pull from heat and add to bowl of dry ingredients. Knead for 3-5 minutes, rest 10 minutes, then knead another 3-5 minutes. Allow to rest once again and begin heating broth in a large stock pot.
Simply add 4 cups vegetable stock with tamari, seaweed, and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cut small bite-sized pieces of dough using kitchen shears or a knife. Carefully add the small dough balls into the broth and keep submerged as best as possible. Cook at a simmer for 50-60 minutes, remove from heat and allow to cool.
Add to a stir fry, salad, stew, curry, you name it! You can also substitute meat dishes with the mock duck and modify the above recipe with different seasonings. You can also add other aromatics to the broth like lemongrass, curry leaves, or cinnamon sticks.
Try modifying these recipes by replacing the meat/seafood: revivify me salad, Vietnamese shrimp and noodle salad, or lamb kofte.
Juicing was all the rage last year. I still have clients who ask about juicing.
What are the benefits? Should I juice? Is it healthy?
My response? When in moderation, it can be part of a healthy diet, especially when you juice at home. It's not as nutritious as eating whole fruits or vegetables, though, as you don't benefit from consuming the pulp (fiber, vitamins, minerals) of the fruit and/or vegetable your turning into liquid. However, you can use the pulp, or produce scraps that separate from the juice. You can bake with them by incorporating into crackers (e.g. as I did in the recipe below), breads (e.g. in a banana or zucchini loaf), or pancakes. Making soup stock from your produce scraps is another great idea, and especially useful come cold weather.
One of my favorite homemade juicing recipes is made with carrot, turmeric root, orange, and ginger. It's not something I prepare often, but when I have the craving (and a refrigerator full of carrots), I dust off my juicer to quench my carrot juice thirst.
Note: You can swap out the carrots for just about any vegetable. Beets, zucchini, and squash are some of my favorite substitutes.
recipe: carrot pulp crackers
Makes about 50 thin crackers
2 cups carrot pulp
1/4 cup ground chia seed
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
2 teaspoon black peppercorn
2 teaspoon fennel seed
2 teaspoon sesame seed
Directions: Preheat oven to 325F
In a pan, toast black peppercorn, fennel and sesame until it begins to brown and becomes fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Grind in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder (I use a dedicated coffee grinder) until it becomes a powder consistency. Mix with carrot pulp, chia, and buckwheat.
Using parchment or two silpats, brush one side of a sheet with coconut oil using a pastry brush. Working in batches, about 3, roll between parchment (or silpat) using a wine bottle or rolling pin. Roll as thin as possible so that it still holds together, brush with more coconut oil, sprinkle lightly with maldon salt, and bake until golden brown and cooked thoroughly, about 20 minutes.
When it's cooled to room temperature, break into pieces and serve with meats and cheese, jam, mustard, pickles, or anything else your heart desires.
Love carrots? Then you MUST try the carrot, parsnip cake. It's absolutely delicious.
swapping out foods
As a dietitian, I counsel people through food substitutions with every patient. Nearly everyone has foods they either need to avoid, or have foods they should limit in their diet. It's helpful to be guided through options, but sometimes having a list you can periodically check can be handy. You'll see a basic list of suggestions here on TCAgenda to make necessary food substitutions. Comment below if you have any addition suggestions of food swaps or questions you'd like ask.
Let it also be known, I am all about flavor. Never would I tell you OR anyone to get rid of something in their diet...unless it's regular soda :-P. The key is moderation and to have variety in your diet.
Eat the rainbow and in moderation
....and sometimes, if you're like me, you may just not have all the ingredients on hand to make a meal you crave. Perhaps I can inspire you to start creating your own meals, like I did with this new recipe: Pea Pesto & Kale Pasta. I don't often plan my meals, so I'm constantly making food substitutions. In this particular dish, I used brown rice pasta (instead of a wheat-based pasta), pepita seeds for walnuts (I'm allergic), cilantro and mint for basil, and kale from my garden to boost the dish with extra nutrition.
vegetarian & gluten-free: pea pesto & kale pasta
Pea Pesto Ingredients
1 cup shelled peas*
1/2 cup pepita seeds
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic
2 oz grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup packed cilantro and mint
1 lime, freshly juiced
pinch salt and pepper
2 tablespoons dukkah (optional)
*you can substitute frozen peas as well
Blanch the peas in boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain, cool, and pulse in a food processor with remaining ingredients until you reach desired consistency.
Kale Pasta Ingredients:
4 oz brown rice pasta (or pasta of your choosing)
1 bunch lacinato kale, cut into thin strips
pea pesto (see above for recipe)
1 oz Parmesan, grated
Prepare pasta according to package. Drain, add back to pan with kale, and as much pea pesto as you desire. Stir until combined and serve with Parmesan cheese.
After a long day of work, I was finally able to relax. And make LASAGNA! It's one of my favorite dishes to prepare....and eat. Who doesn't love the complexity of a something so saucy and delicious?
Do not get frightened by this post; it comes across as intimidating, but need not be. In fact, you could make just one component of the lasagna. Carrot top pesto or tomato sauce is extremely versatile. Put it on noodles, quinoa, raw veggies like radish...the possibilities are endless, really. The noodles can also be made into a different shapes like spaghetti or even ravioli.
Now, to being:
prepares 1 lb pasta, fresh
3 cups flour
2 pinches of salt, kosher
1/2 cup roasted carnival squash
1 Tablespoon water
2 tablespoons olive oil
When preparing the pasta, keep in mind it's no different than a simple pasta recipe but without the squash. The only additional steps are to roast and puree the squash (allow to cool before use). Make a well with the sifted flour and salt. Crack both eggs into the well, as well as the squash and water. With a fork, slowly incorporate the flour into the egg mixture. As it begins to form a ball, add the oil. Knead for 8-10 minutes and adjust accordingly with flour and water. Allow to rest and cover for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
With your pasta roller, roll out 3 sheets (the size of the pan) for the bottom layer to number 4. The remaining lasagna noodles are best rolled to number 5. Dry and boil for about three minutes. If you don't have a drying rack, improvise. See the pictures below for inspiration. Cool and lay flat (gently brush oil to cooked noodles to prevent tearing).
To make it more fun, sip on a beautiful Pinot Noir and take your time. This isn't a race. Enjoy yourself, and your food.
Carrot Top Pesto:
Prepares about 5 cups depending on desired consistency
1/2 cup toasted, pepitas
3/4 cup dried pie pumpkin seeds
3/4 cup toasted sprouted walnuts
2 cups packed carrot tops (stems removed)
6 cups fresh spinach
1 cup fresh basil
3 ounces of grated Pecorino Romano cheese
8 roasted garlic cloves
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preparation: Toast all nuts/seeds and blend in processor. Add garlic and pulse, careful not to pulse too much. Proceed and add spinach, basil and carrot tops in batches. Then add cheese. Very slowly pour the oils into the mixture as you process. Add the water the same way, streaming it into the vibrant green blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Words of advice:
Basic Tomato Sauce:
Yields 3 1/2 quarts
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup onion, diced
2 - 28 ounce cans of San Marzano tomatoes
4 ounces tomato paste
5 cloves garlice
1 pinch smoked Spanish paprika
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup dried basil
In a sauce pot, sweat onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add remaining ingredients and allow to simmer for 60 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and from heat. Puree with an immersion blender and adjust seasonings.
Prepares one large 9x13" pan
1 eggplant, flame roasted on stove top then pureed (skins removed)
1/2 kabocha squash, cubed and roasted (350F for 45 minutes with 2 T. oil, salt and pepper)
16 ounces ricotta
2 ounces Pecorino Romano
3 cups shredded mozzarella
Heat oven to 375F
Oil the lasagna pan and layer the thicker (#4) lasagna noodles on the bottom. Spread the roasted eggplant on the noodles. Follow with cubed kabocha squash. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese, add next layer of lasagna noodles. Spread pesto onto, followed by another layer of squash. Ladle tomato sauce, then top with noodles. Next comes more cheese, the ricotta. Then yet again, a layer of noodles. Put a thin layer of tomato sauce on top the noodles and sprinkle Asiago Romano to finish. Bake in oven for 50-60 minutes, until done.
I know what I want, and I want it now...pizza pizza
Ok, it starts like this.... I wanted pizza now. Not tomorrow or later tonight, but within the next couple hours. It seems like every recipe says the flavor is best the next day once the dough has time to rest. I didn't have the patience to wait until the follow day to quench my hunger. My craving needed to be had that night. I searched through my old blog and found my potato crust recipe from when I worked at Riverbend, a farm in Delano, MN. However, I didn't have all the ingredients. After looking through my pantry I decided I was going to experiment with two versions, one a classic thin-crust, and two a spelt potato crust. Both are made nearly the same with the exception of the second version where I combined mashed potatoes (red and yukon skin on) at the end.
Both versions are the same except for step #3
1. Combine yeast, water and sugar in a mixing bowl, and stir to dissolve the yeast. Allow to rest 5 minutes for the yeast to activate.
2. In another bowl, add your salt and flour(s).
3. Combine wet with dry in a stand mixer and knead on medium speed for 5 minutes or do by hand at least 50 turns. (Here's where you add the mash if you're making version #2)
4. The dough should feel moist and tacky. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour, covered with a clean kitchen towel.
5. After rising, use the dough or refrigerate. If you choose the later, you must let the dough come to temperature before shaping.
6. When you are ready to use the dough, form one at time (if using version 2). Also, be sure to check that oven....Is it set to 450F ? If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower middle rack.
7. Form the dough into a large disk and stretch from the middle of the dough outwards on your silpat or parchment. Use the heal of your hand to press and gently stretch until it's 1/4" or less. If the dough starts to shrink, allow it to rest a few minutes and continue rolling.
8. When the crust is thin to your liking, use a bread peel or back side of a baking sheet to slide your pizza onto the pizza stone or sheet pan. Par-bake for 5 minutes.
9. Remove from oven and apply sauce followed by ingredients. Turn down your oven to 400F and cook for another 12 minutes or until the cheese browns.
10. Wait a couple minutes and EAT
You may be wondering, which was better? Honestly, it was a tough decision. I liked the simplicity of the classic. It was certainly crispier and easier to work with; however, the complexity and depth with the added potato was amazing. I think I have to go with version #2.
Still hungry? Round out your pizza with a salad recipe here.
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