Category Archives: Vegan

Making Kimchi and other fermented foods

Homemade KimchiHomemade Kimchi

Last summer we had the good fortune to visit relatives living in Japan. For ten days, we toured Tokyo and Kyoto together. We visited countless temples, restaurants. Saw amazing sites and ate some of the most amazing cuisine I’ve ever tasted! There are many reasons that Japanese live extraordinarily long healthy lives, not the least of which is the food they eat: Traditional Japanese meals heavy on the vegetables and are naturally gluten and dairy free. Another thing we noticed was a variety of fermented foods are usually present at EVERY meal, especially breakfast.

This ancient tradition seems likely to have come about as a means of preserving the harvest, but as many in modern times are beginning to realize, the bacterial cultures present in fermented foods have many benefits in terms of digestion, immune system health, detoxification and even increased mental clarity.

As soon as we got home, we began incorporating more fermented food into our diets – store-bought saurkraut, kimchi and pickled radishes.

A few months after we got home, we bought our first crock and began fermenting things for ourselves. Kimchi is my favorite because it’s spicy, but a nice bit of saurkraut is great as a side dish or in a sandwich as well.  I like that we can know where things came from, how they were handled and get to participate in this ancient, wise tradition from my heritage.

Traditional Korean kimchi can contain seafood or meat as well, but we decided to keep it simple. This batch is mostly napa cabbage mixed with some carrots, green onions, garlic and hot peppers allowed to ferment under a brine. Since the vegetables are kept completely covered with brine, not in contact with air, the usual mold and other bacteria that can appear on foods is not able to survive the saltiness and lack of oxygen of the brine, allowing lacto-fermentation to commence, which produces that healthy gut-flora bacteria we all need more of in our diets. (something the yogurt industry is trying to leverage as well, but be careful not to eat yogurt which has sugar added – it counteracts the health benefits of the lactobacillus bacteria by promoting unhealthy bacteria in your system instead!)

Now that our crock is empty again, my thoughts are turning to red onions. Who doesn’t love a nice dollop of pickled onions on their burger?

 

 

 

Gluten Free Recipe: Shanghai Cabbage

gluten free recipe: shanghai cabbage

 

Gluten Free Recipe:   Shanghai Cabbage

 

This recipe is a gluten free version of an old Asian noodle dish called “Noodle Mountain.” I guess you could use rice noodles, but we decided to make it even cleaner by eliminating the noodles all together. As with a lot of Asian recipes, it’s also vegan and dairy free!

Serves 2

Prep time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 10 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head Napa Cabbage, sliced really thin
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled, sliced really thin
  • 1 bunch Nabuchan Onions or Green Scallions, sliced diagonally 2″
  • 1″ Ginger Root,  peeled and diced
  • 6 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 cup raw, Unsalted Cashews
  • Juice of 1 Fresh Lime
  • 1/8 cup Nama Shoyu or Japanese Soy Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Toasted Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 cup Peanut Oil

Recipe

Make the sauce: Combine the Nama Shoyu, Rice Vinegar and Toasted Sesame Oil in a small bowl. Set aside. Juice the lime into another small bowl. Set aside.

Add 1/4 cup peanut oil to a wok over high heat. The pan is ready as soon as a water drop disappears when you flick into the oil. Quickly add the yellow onions and turn down to medium heat. Saute` the onions until they are translucent, and remove from the pan to a plate.

Bring the pan back up to high heat again and add the cabbage, green onions, ginger and garlic to the pan and toss as you would a salad with tongs or two wooden spoons, until all the cabbage is limp, usually about 5 minutes. Add the yellow onions back in along with the sauce and heat through, about 2 more minutes.

Quickly remove the cabbage mixture to two plates, top with the cashews and lime juice – This tastes best when it’s good and hot.

We like to eat it with chopsticks because it forces us to eat slowly.

Enjoy!

 

 

 

Fermented Kale Recipe

fermented kale

 

A recent trip to Japan has given us an even greater appreciation for fermented foods. In Japan, fermented foods are called:  “Tsukemono” or pickled vegetables. We knew from other reading on the subject that fermented foods are very beneficial because they provide the gut flora needed to break down nutrients more efficiently, which means we experience greater digestive health, immune health and even benefits in terms of cognition and energy; but Japan’s ancient lineage and the fact that Japanese people have the third longest life expectancy of any nation is enough to make us consider the deeper wisdom of their most obvious daily routines. In Japan, fermented foods are served at every meal, especially at breakfast.

bubuzuke

Above is a lunch meal we had in old Kyoto – Ochazuke which means “soaked in tea.” This bowl starts with a bed of white rice made with green tea, and then any number of fermented veggies on top. In this picture: Lotus root, Mizuna, Daikon, Bamboo, Rhizome, Button mushroom. Despite the 100F heat and 85% humidity, it made m,e feel energetic and ready to take on bigger things. It’s worth noting that in Japan, when you eat with others, there is  also a deeper significance than just taking on nutrients in the same room. It’s hard to explain but the Japanese have discovered that not only are there tremendous health benefits to fermented foods, but there’s a social aspect to dining together; a resonance, that fills you in other ways.

Back to fermented kale. Here’s a recipe. Pretty basic with a bit of trickiness.  Ideal fermentation  varies based on conditions where you dwell.

Here in new england:

Ingredients:

12 oz kale leaves, stems removed

2 or 3 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

2 tsp salt

Take a quart mason jar and put it in boiling water in a pan, enough to cover the jar. Boil the jar and lid for 10 minutes.

Wash the kale well in a salty bath and then strip the kale from it’s coarse stems, place the leaves in a very large bowl and sprinkle with the salt.

Put 2 quarts of water on to boil.

Massage the kale in the bowl with your hands 4 or 5 minutes. The kale will assume a color and texture like seaweed.

Scoop the kale into the jar and pack down lightly, leaving 1/2 inch head space. Using a ladle, fill the jar with boiling water until the kale is completely covered in liquid. Screw on the lid on loosely, just one turn or so, leaving room for the fermentation to push by the lid. As the kale ferments, it will bubble over. If you seal the jar tightly, it could explode.

Set the jar in a dish or something, to catch the overflow as it bubbles over. The fermented kale is ready to eat when you see some evidence of bubbling over, usually 3-5 days at room temperature.

This recipe is decidedly vague. It’s varies a bit depending on your climate. The cool thing is, with very little effort, you are developing a stronger digestive and immune system, time tested and proven,  using one of the oldest low tech means possible.

You could also add crushed red pepper or Toragashi (Japanese 7 spice). Your call. Experiment! Explore!

 

Cranberry Walnut Kale Salad Recipe

cranberry walnut kale salad

The kale harvest is well underway at Mercy Hill Farm and we’ve got lots of it! It’s available for sale inside our barn and there are SO many ways to enjoy it. Here’s a simple salad I made yesterday for lunch:

Cranberry Walnut Kale Salad Recipe

(makes one large serving or two side servings)

  • 5 or 6 large kale leaves
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries diced
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts coarsely chopped

Massaging Your Kale

(this process makes it much tender and tastier in salads)

To prepare the kale, rinse the leaves

massaging kale vigorously under cold water. Discard the thick main stem and cut the leaves into 1″ pieces. Place the leaves in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with about a teaspoon of salt. Massage the kale in your hands for about 2 minutes, or until the kale looks like wet seaweed. Fill the bowl with water enough to completely cover the kale. Swish it around for a minute and then remove the kale to a plate. Empty and rinse the bowl thoroughly to remove the salt. Repeat the process at least once to ensure the salt is gone from the kale, and then move the kale to a colander to drain any excess water off. Then your kale is ready to eat as a delicious salad green packed with raw nutrients and fiber!

Honey Dijon Dressing:

This simple dressing is my go-to most days.

(makes 5-6 servings)

  • 6 tbsns cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsns dijon
  • 3 tbpn extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp raw honey (2 1/2 tspns sugar for vegan)
  • 1/2 tspn salt and pepper each

Add all ingredients to a small jar, put a lid on it and shake.

If you have not tried eating kale this way, you really owe it to yourself to give it a try.

kale for sale

Vegan Recipe: Tangy Sweet Potato and Pineapple Salad with Avocado

 

It’s springtime in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. The snowpiles are melting and giving way to early blooming flowers like crocus and daffodil, a welcome, colorful change.

This was partly the motivation for this salad, that and trying to find a satisfying gluten free, dairy free lunch. It also happens to be vegan and very tasty!

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled, chopped
  • 1 med. sweet potato, peeled, chopped
  • 2 tbspns finely chopped red onion
  • 1 red and 1 green jalapeño, finely chopped
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 tbsn fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Recipe:

Steam the sweet potato chunks until tender. Then toss all the ingredients together until the lime juice has coated everything.

Serve on a sunny porch with some calypso music playing and think about warmer weather coming real soon!

You might also enjoy this article:

19 Science-backed Health Benefits of Pineapple by Helen Nichols

 

Noodle Mountain

This is a very satisfying gluten free, dairy free, vegan dish full of flavor and zip.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 6oz package rice noodles
  • 1/4c extra light olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 chiles, finely chopped
  • 8- 10 napa cabbage leaves, finely shredded
  • 4oz bean sprouts
  • 1/4c gluten free tamari
  • Juice of two limes
  • 6 scallions, chopped
  • 4oz raw, unsalted cashews, chopped

Directions

  1. Cook the noodles in a large saucepan according to the package. Drain and transfer to a bowl if cold water. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and add garlic, ginger, onions, and chiles. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes until softened. Add the cabbage and bean sprouts and stir briefly.
  3. Drain noodles well and add to wok. Toss gently then add tamari, lime juice, scallion, and cashews. Mix well. Serve immediately. Use chopsticks!


“Bap Veggies” – Gluten free, Grain Free BiBimBap

Bibimbap is a classic Korean dish we first had at Street, one of our favorite restaurants in Portsmouth NH. The word literally means “mixed rice”. Bibimbap is traditionally served as a bowl of warm white rice topped with spiced vegetables and a thick sauce.

Gluten Free BiBimBapWe decided to eliminate nearly all wheat and most grains, after reading about the benefits of a paleo diet, so here’s our take on BiBimBap. This is a dairy free, grain free, gluten free recipe and could easily be made vegetarian or vegan by eliminating the egg. Karen calls this: “Bap Veggies.” August is a perfect time to make this, since we have an abundance of fresh garden vegetables to harvest right now.

Ingredients:

  • 2 crowns of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 stalks of kale, stems removed, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
  • a handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • extra light olive oil
  • some gluten free tamari
  • and of course some Sriracha Rooster Sauce!

Heat a few teaspoons of oil over medium heat in a wok or other frying pan. As soon as the oil is hot, add in a the broccoli, stir around occasionally for about 4 -5 minutes. Add in the onions, stir for a few more minutes. Add in the rest of the veggies and cook until they are all slightly tender. Push the veggies to the outer edges of the pan, crack the eggs into the center and shut off the heat. When the eggs are flippable without breaking the yoke, flip them over. Turn the heat back on briefly if necessary to get the egg cooked to desired doneness. Serve by laying the veggies out, egg on top, chop sticks and sauces nearby.

As a variation to this, try adding some mushrooms, bean sprouts, summer squash, or green beans. It’s fun to try different combinations for color and flavor.

 

Why Add Edible Flowers to Your Salads?

edible flowers on salad

So a few weeks ago, I  talked about broccoli being an edible flower, and that there are many others.  I know, I know, I was surprised by the idea too, but in fact, there are many edible flowers such as Gladiolus, Fuschia, Impatien, Pansies and Sunflowers to name a few. To see a longer list of edible flowers, click here.

Edible flowers add color, flavor and aroma to salads.  The salad pictured above uses Nasturtium and Cilantro blossoms. Nasturtium has a great orange color and a black pepper taste. The dainty white Cilantro blossoms taste like cilantro leaves and look kind of like the flower: Gypsophilia AKA: “Baby’s Breath.”

It’s a little uncommon in America to find flowers on your food, but other cultures have used them for many years in cooking and why not? Be mindful of allergies and such and keep to the list of known safe-to-eat flowers, but have some fun with artful and tasty flowers in your salads.

 

 

Raw Vegan Sushi With A Side of Cauliflower “Rice”

raw veggie sushiI just did not want another salad today. 😀 My Asian heritage and and abundance of vegetables led me to this:

Raw Veggie Sushi With A Side of Cauliflower “Rice”

Gluten free, Dairy Free, Grain Free and Raw Vegan

Recipe:

– Gather up your favorite raw veggies: carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, asparagus, peppers, scallions, spinach, etc. You name it.

– You will also need:

  • Nori Sheets
  • Wasabi Paste
  • Gluten Free Tamari (soy sauce)
  • Pickled Ginger

1. Rinse your veggies well in cold water then julienne them into thin strips about 3″ long, as narrow as you can get them.  (If you need help with julienne, check out this video) Put a couple crowns of cauliflower into the food processor and pulse until it looks like rice. (Careful not to over pulse.)

2. Put a tablespoon of wasabi powder in a small bowl. Add a few drops of water and mash it around with a  spoon. Add a few more drops of water and mash again, until you get a thick, play-doh consistency. Then mash some more. (The more you mash, the hotter it gets…)

3. cut the nori sheets into strips 2″ wide and 8 or 9″ long. Put a few tablespoons of water in a small bowl and keep nearby.

rolling sushi
Rolling Sushi

4. Lay a strip of nori on a wooden cutting board or other smooth flat surface, lengthwise away from you and place a few pieces of each veggie in the sheet about 2″ from the closest end.  Let some veggie pieces stick out further than others for better presentation. Dip your finger in the water bowl and wet the far end of the nori sheet, all the way from the top, down to the veggies.

5. Carefully roll the nori away from you, while pulling the veggies toward you, trying to keep the roll as tight as you can without tearing the nori.

6. Press the “riced” cauliflower into a small bowl and quickly put it upside down on your serving board to make the mound.

7. Serve on a sushi board with a small bowl of tamari, the wasabi paste and ginger.

Tanoshimi kudasai!

Baby Spinach & Sundried Tomato Salad w/ Artichokes and Black Olives

20140120-123702.jpg

This gluten-free, dairy-free Mediterranean inspired vegan salad is a delicious way to fill up on vitamin, mineral and fiber-packed healthy plant-based foods:

Salad recipe:

• 6 to 8 ounces raw organic baby spinach leaves
• 7 ounces prepared artichoke hearts, sliced 1/2 inch thick
• 7 ounces black olives squished in half
• 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
• 8 or 10 straws of fresh lemon zest

Dressing recipe:

• Juice of one lemon
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 1 large garlic clove, peeled, crushed
• dash of salt
• dash of ground black pepper

Serves two people for lunch or as an appetizer

Place spinach equally into 2 separate bowls. Top with olives, tomato, artichoke.

Scrub lemon with warm water and dry with a towel. Remove the zest by peeling small strings of the yellow lemon rind using a zester or peeler. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into a strainer over a bowl. Place a few pieces of the lemon zest over the salads.

Add to the juice the crushed garlic, the olive oil, salt and black pepper to taste. Blend and, while stirring to keep evenly constituted, evenly drizzle it over the two salads.

τώρα τρώνε και να απολαύσετε!
(That’s Greek for: “now eat & enjoy!”)