After reading David Perlmutter’s book, Grain Brain, we are going gluten-free. For me, that is not difficult. Wheat has been off the menu for a while now. But there are those in the house who feel that life is just not complete without a chocolate chip cookie after school.
In an effort to prove that life can be effortless, delicious and complete without wheat, I am on a search for the world’s best GF Chocolate Chip Cookie. Along the way, I’ve found these delicious looking treats ~
A quick post to share what I am looking forward to once our Spring Cleanse is complete: Baby New Potato & Asparagus Salad with Marcona Almonds and Micro Greens. It’s crunchy, salty, moist, hearty yet light and fresh, and sweet in an Ayurvedic way. As any meal should, it inspires all the senses, incorporates all six tastes and harmonizes the best of a local harvest.
Baby New Potato & Asparagus Salad with Marcona Almonds & Micro Greens
8-10 Baby New Potatoes
10-12 very fresh Asparagus Stalks
3-4 Spring Onions 1/2 c chopped Dill
1 c Marcona Almonds (Trader Joe’s sells them roasted with Rosemary)
1/2 c Microgreens
Dressing 1 clove Garlic
1 t Dijon
1 T Mayo (can be Vegan)
2-3 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Lemon juiced
1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
a dusting of Red Pepper (my favorite is a gift from my sister: Aleppo Chile Pepper from The Spice House)
Black pepper, to taste
Himalayan Salt, to taste
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook about 15-20 minutes, until a fork easily slides through the middle. Meanwhile, if you have a double cooker or a steamer, put that on top of the boiling potatoes and blanch the asparagus for a 3-4 minutes only. Otherwise you can drop them into boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Rinse the asparagus immediately with cold water and place in a bowl of ice water. When the potatoes are done, drain and put them in a bowl of ice water too.
Slice the zucchini thin and cut the rounds into quarters, so they are mini bite-size. Slice the spring onions all the way up into the green. Add the zucchini, spring onions, almonds and dill to a salad bowl and set aside.
Mix up the dressing by mincing the garlic. I always make my dressings in a jar because with a lid on tight, you can really give it a good shake and prove to the world that even oil and vinegar can sometimes mix. So put your garlic into a small jar with the juice of half the lemon and the rest of the ingredients. Shake until it is creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings.
Drain and dry the potatoes and asparagus and cut into small bite size pieces. Toss together with the zucchini, spring onions and dill. Give the dressing a good vigorous blend and pour onto the salad. Taste and adjust. I found mine needed the juice of the entire lemon.
Serve on a bed of lettuce with a carefree sprinkling of microgreens.
Options: Chopped, hard-boiled egg; avocado slices; sun-dried tomatoes for that bit of sour; sunflower seeds for added crunch; garden-fresh snap peas for even more sweet green; basil, cilantro, or mint for more savory zing. This salad is really happy company to just about any of Spring’s edible delights so let your garden or your local farmer inspire your whims.
I wonder, how can I serve you best this year? There are ideas hatching and plans underway, but I am always keen to get your feedback. After all, I write because you eat! So, please let me know how I can help you.
Meanwhile, since there are so many great recipes already out there but little understanding of the fundamentals of flavor and nutritional health, that I thought I’d take a trip around the various kitchens of the world this year, choosing classics, favorites, and mouth-watering, head-spinning, tongue-tickling, belly delighting dishes to adapt according to Ayurvedic principles. That way, in addition to mouth-watering, head-spinning, tongue-tickling, and belly delighting, the adapted recipes will be phenomenally, fantastically fabulous for your health.
I am calling it Six Tasting the World! What do you think?
In order to take a trip like this, there us much to consider, lots to plan and a great deal of organizing to do. So while I am getting ready, I thought I’d share with you a list of my online favorites to freshen up your pantry of recipes and resources.
Sally Tinker Smith blogs about all the things she loves and she is such a love herself that every post is like coming home! Stephanie Weaver is a Gluten-free Goddess, relentlessly renovating recipes to make delicious, digestible dishes for the more than 2 million Americans with Celiac, and everyone else who wants a break now and then from the all-persuasive glutenous grains.
Shruthi, who blogs over at Cardamom Kitchen, is full of joyful esprit and spice-laced loveliness. Plus, she is a genuine genius when it comes to the application of Ayurveda to western ways. Another blogger friend is Kate who is absolutely the picture of Ayurvedic radiance, and her blog is the real deal.
While it is not about food, Pamela’s Walking On My Hands is a blog about learning to live with grace ~ deep wisdom I can always use. Also not usually about food is Gypsy Love Cafe from the amazingly creative, deeply soulful, wildly free and artistic Katariina. I always love seeing what she’s up to.
For an integrated approach to the foodies’ search for pleasure, health, sustainability, and global justice Ecogastronomy is cool. Because they are getting nutritious foods into food banks nationwide, SuperFoodDrive is super awesome! At the Well, Tara Parker-Pope reports on the nexus between medical science, nutrition, and family health with a surprisingly fresh, engaging voice, and of course, Slow Food and Edible Schoolyards remind us that the world is full of very good, very sane people!
I wish you all the magic of the cosmos, every happiness in the world, all the love of our Mother Earth, and every dream to come true in 2012. This is our year. Let’s grab hold!
What do you feel like eating these days? After all the cake, cookies, bread, rich foods and sweet drinks? I don’t know about you, but in between the holiday celebrations I want plain and simple: simple to make, simple to eat and, frankly, simple to digest.
So the other day I made this ~
The next day I made this ~
And the next day I was so in love with this dressing, I ate it straight from the jar…
This dressing is divine ~ utterly perfect when you want to eat plain and simple, yet unique and magical enough to accompany any New Year’s Eve dinner. So here is the most wonderful dressing you will ever make, just in time to celebrate the most wonderful person you are and the most wonderful year you are about to begin.
Cardamom has this special “Prabhav” which is a word that sort of means magic. It is a way of defining herbs and spices that have a special potency, or a very unique intelligence that our own terrific human intelligence can’t easily explain or categorize. In the case of Cardamom, it has this particular way of strengthening digestion, while helping to increase moisture throughout the body. If you think about it, that means that Cardamom simultaneously kindles your fire while watering your system. Since water usually extinguishes fire, that seems like magic to me.
Plus, it is so medicinal while tasting so incredibly other-worldy. Because it is warm and moist, cardamom is excellent for Vata, meaning any place, season, time or person in which the Air element is dominant, a condition which shows up as windy, cold, dry, erratic or scattered. Cardamom warms, grounds, hydrates, soothes and improves digestion ~ especially helpful after the holidays, no?
It’s best to purchase Cardamom in pods, not only because these tiny flowers of ginger are gorgeous but because once ground, flavor escapes quickly. When ready to use, peel open the pods, shake out the seeds and grind. Use a mortar and pestle ~ the seeds submit easily. A spice mill or coffee grinder will do just fine, as well.
Once you make this Dressing you can keep it in a tightly covered jar in the fridge or a week, although it is delicious on everything, so it is not likely to last. And remember that to be Ayurvedic, salad follows the main course, of course!
Finally, I want to thank you for journeying with me through the Ayurvedic kitchen this year. In 2012, I plan to travel the world, so to speak, exploring diverse culinary traditions and adapting recipes according to Ayurvedic wisdom to enhance wellness. The working title is Six Tasting the World. Let me know what you think.
I hope you will join me on this great adventure, starting in January by first establishing the basics. Meanwhile, I wish you a safe, happy, and fulfilling New Year celebration.
Calling all foodies, bloggers, wizards and mermaids, adventurers, lovers, dreamers and inventors, Buddhas, Sages, Sadhakas and Yogis! Inside of you is something eternal and infinite; something as great as a mountain, as vast as an ocean, as beautiful as a star, as sweet as honey, as miraculous as a rainbow. It is a power that knows no bounds. A capacity to create, to heal, to love, to light up the world. You were born to know the magnificence of life, the power within, the radiance of your own truth, the joy of service and the deep, delightful endurance of love.
In this divine time when we string lights on every tree, mantel, and eave, allow me to celebrate the miracle of you. Allow me, if you will, to celebrate all that light and love alive in you, dancing, pulsing, surging, radiating through you with the most divine of spices, Cardamom.
To me, Cardamom is love and light in a pod. It is beauty and wisdom, knowing just what we need physically, while inspiring us emotionally. Cardamom is the journeyer’s companion, the sensual spark to a Yogi’s inner flame.
Oh Cardamom, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways… Next week, I will! For now, I give you three comforting, delicious ways to stay warm and grounded this time of year. 2 out of 3 are Vegan and all 3 are, or can be made, gluten-free. Therefore, they make excellent “hand-crafted” gifts, and hearty, conversation-starting party foods.
Cardamom Rose Delights
1 cup shredded coconut
6 medjool dates
1 tbls almond butter
1 tbls coconut oil
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tsp rose water
pinch of salt
Process all ingredients in food processor until mixture is quite smooth. Form into balls or press into molds. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
Melissa’s Incredibly Moist Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups Pamela’s gluten free baking mix
1 egg substitute (Melissa uses oil, water, & baking powder mix)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 bag vegan choc chips
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch or two of cardamom
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together, adding water (or spiced apple cider as I did) as needed to moisten and form balls. Cook on parchment paper ~ 10-11 min. They may look soft but do not overcook.
2/3 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup dark rum or apple cider
1 cup unbleached White flour (or a gluten-free flour of your choice)
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (or more gluten-free flour or Liscia says try rice flour!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3 ripe bananas
1/3 cup canola or corn oil (Liscia also likes coconut oil)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-10 inch loaf pan.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the raisins or currants with the rum or cider, and bring to a simmer. Turn off the heat, and let the pan sit for 10 minutes.
3. While they are soaking, combine in a large bowl the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Mix well. In a smaller bowl mash bananas with a fork. Add the oil and brown sugar, and beat for 1 minute. Add eggs beating more. With a spoon, stir this mixture into the flour mixture until the ingredients are well blended. Stir in walnuts, the soaked raisins, and their liquid. Pose the mixture into greased loaf pan.
4. Bake the bread 50-60( but check around 30-40!) until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, place it on a rack, and let the bread cool for 10 mins before you remove it from the pan. Wrapped well, this bread keeps at room temperature for 5 days, and longer if refrigerated.
Celebrating You as the light we celebrate this season, reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila‘s powerful call to the awakened life ~
“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
No hands but yours, no feet but yours;
Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s Compassion is to look out to the world;
Yours are the feet by which he is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which he is to bless us now.”
May we all take up the call, inspired by the season, encouraged by our saints and sages,
and fortified by Cardamom’s loving light.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holy Days ~
I am dreaming of being with my mother today. We would sit amongst the “darling buds of May” in her garden, the one designed and created by my sister Julia, who would be there, too, with her children. My extraordinary 96-year-old grandmother, the matriarch of our large, vibrant family, “Nana the Great” to all our children, would also sit with us, commenting on the vibrant color of a prairie cone flower perhaps, or the unique blossom of a native species that is my sister’s specialty and my mother’s pride.
We would tell my mother what a great mother, friend, example, inspiration she has been and continues to be. How soothing her comforting wisdom is even now. She’d say “No, no, it is you children who have given me so much…” because that is the way she is. But we’d keep trying to let her know with our words, our hand-holding, our little gifts, our kitchen labor, our watchful presence, that she has meant everything to us. If we tried to enumerate the details of that everything, we’d get teary, so we stick to the generals and deeply breathe in the joy of being together after too long apart.
Since my mother, and my Aunt, were artists and great cooks, I consider at length just what I’d prepare for Mother’s Day. I’d want it to delight her as well as express the depth of gratitude I feel, but it needs to be simple so that we are free to enjoy our time together, unconstrained by cooking complexities.
Britta from Suzie’s Farm gave me a great idea this week: dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free Millet Muffins for Mother’s Day Breakfast. I’d add a dash of cardamom to the batter, and serve them hot from the oven with a warm blackberry preserve.
My mother visited me when I lived in Florence, Italy and numerous times while I was in London, so I like the idea of the Lemon Polenta Cake, pictured up top. Coming from Nigella Lawson, it is a twist on British and Italian standards, so would elicit many sweet memories. It, too, is gluten-free and with Earth Balance instead of butter, could also be dairy-free.
Or, since my mother is so healthy, we could go all out. Of course, she is absolutely worth it, so maybe I’d splurge and make a French Jam Tart, remembering the days we walked all over Paris trying to find one Museum that was open and finally surrendered for warm pastry and tea. We found then that the treasure of Paris is really there: in the cafes and patisseries, on the streets, and in the parks. “In the everyday; just like life,” we might have said.
Every day is Mother’s Day on this Blog, since it is a site entirely devoted to celebrating the wise and loving gifts of Mother Earth. But on this one day of the year, our official Mother’s Day, I celebrate my own mother whose mothering simply astounds me.
Thank you, Mom, for your endless and selfless gifts! I am so blessed to have your love, devotion, wisdom, forgiveness and support. You, and the brother and sisters you gave me, sustain and encourage my life in countless ways. I send you waves and waves of love today and every day.
Happy Mother’s Day!
On this important day, I would like to invite you to watch a short video on Extraordinary Moms, hosted by Julia Roberts and created by my extraordinary friends Amy & Kathy Eldon, who, like my mother and your mother, are themselves extraordinary mothers. For every 20 times this XO MOMS Video is viewed, Humanity International will provide a mosquito net to a mother, and family in need, in Ghana to prevent Malaria.