Category Archives: condiments

Acar Kuning (Indonesian Vegetables)

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo~~~

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Many, many years ago I vacationed in Sint Maarten (the Dutch name) aka Saint-Martin (the French name), an island in the Caribbean that is half French and half Dutch.  While visiting the Dutch side, my friend and I discovered how delicious Indonesian food was, and we ate at several restaurants that served riistafel (Indonesian banquets).  I came home craving more of that delicious food, but alas could not find any Indonesian restaurants in the NYC area (don’t forget, this was eons ago – now there are a few to be found).  If this had been in the memorable past, I would then have gone online and looked up Indonesian recipes, but since this predated the internet I was pretty much out of luck as I don’t think there were even any Indonesian cookbooks on the market.  That’s when I came across a class being offered in Indonesian cooking and I signed up immediately.

The good news was that the instructor (sorry I don’t remember his name) was excellent and I learned a good deal about Indonesian cooking, as well as where to buy Indonesian ingredients (there are 2 stores in Chinatown).  This was one of the recipes I learned in that class, I was a little leery when I first read the recipe as it had never occurred to me to cook cucumbers but after we made it I was completely sold.  The recipe was titled Acar Campur – however after checking out other recipes online, it looks like Acar Campur is actually pickled vegetables and this recipe is more like a stir-fry with some elements of pickling (ie sugar and vinegar).  Whatever you call it, this is a delicious and unusual way to serve vegetables. Continue reading Acar Kuning (Indonesian Vegetables)

Roasted Peppers

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo~~~

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There’s nothing like homemade roasted peppers for making tasty sauces, dips, for antipasto or toppings for bruschetta, in salads or on sandwiches.  The ones you buy in jars pale in comparison to homemade; and they are so easy to do.   Although you can roast green or purple peppers, it is more common to use red, orange or yellow pepper because they have a lovely sweetness once they are cooked.  You can roast peppers on a grill as well as under the broiler.

The first and very important step is to select fleshy peppers.  Unfortunately these are usually the ones that are the more expensive ones from Holland.  You’ll recognize them by the big green stem and they should be heavy when you pick one up.  The peppers that are not as fleshy don’t roast particularly well and I just skip it if I can’t find the fleshy ones.

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Preheat the broiler.  After you’ve rinsed your peppers, cut them in half through the stem

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Then remove the stem, seeds, and any white pith.

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Cut the halves in half to make quarters and place on a baking sheet lined generously with foil.

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Place under broiler and cook until charred.

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Turn and cook second side until charred.

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Immediately roll up the cooked pepper in the foil that was lining the pan.  This lets the peppers steam as they cool, making it easy to remove the skins.

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When the peppers have cooled, open the foil packet and peel the papery/blistered skin from the fleshy part of the peppers.

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Now you have peppers ready to eat or cook with.

My favorite thing to do them them is chop them up; add plenty of garlic, some fresh or dried herbs, and some extra virgin olive oil, a little salt to taste and you are good to go.

CIMG4320   flaxseed crackers with roasted peppers and scallion

Paleo Worcestershire Sauce – Better than Lea & Perrins®

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo~~~

I’ll confess I’ve been using Lea & Perrins® Worcestershire sauce even though it’s not strictly paleo (because it contains sugar – definitely not paleo and molasses – most probably not paleo).  I figure the one drop I use in my Bloody Mary mix or tuna salad will not seriously impact my paleo life.  However, when I’m writing recipes for paleo readers; the integrity of the recipe should be maintained using strictest paleo standards.  When I decided to make paleo barbecue sauce (coming to this blog on Tuesday), I wanted to use a fairly good amount of Worcestershire and just omitting it would diminish the flavor profile significantly.

So, I did what I usually do…I googled “paleo Worcestershire sauce.”  Why reinvent the wheel if someone has already done the work?  Frankly, none of the recipes (and there are many) fit my definition of Worcestershire sauce.  They all seemed to use coconut aminos + spices – and in some cases that’s about all.  Others included ingredients like mustard, tomato sauce or paste, orange juice, and sometimes even molasses.  Not good enough for me!

It made sense to me to start with the ingredients on the Worcestershire label: white vinegar, (skip the molasses and sugar), water, salt, onions, anchovies, garlic, cloves, tamarind (a fruit that is very tart, usually found dried in a “cake” or made into a concentrate), chili pepper.  I used some ingredients to add depth to the flavor like the balsamic vinegar and ume plum vinegar and used a little maple syrup to replace the sugar and molasses.

I kept the yield small (1/4 cup) as I think most people probably use even less than 1 teaspoon at a time and I’m not sure about how long it will keep.  Since none of the ingredients are particularly perishable and the vinegar and salt are preservatives, I’m suggesting it can keep 2 weeks, but truly – I will be using it longer.

Here is the result – and I think it’s pretty terrific.

Paleo Worcestershire Sauce Better than Lea & Perrins®

If you don’t have anchovy paste, you can use 1/2 of a canned anchovy. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you can substitute 1/2 of a sun-dried tomato for the anchovy.

3 tablespoons boiling water

1 teaspoon dried tamarind or tamarind concentrate (look for it in ethnic markets)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

2 teaspoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon ume plum vinegar or additional white vinegar

1/4 teaspoon anchovy paste or sun-dried tomato paste

1/4 teaspoon grated onion (use the fine side of the grater)

Pinch ground clove

Sprinkle of garlic powder

Dash hot sauce or to taste

In a mini processor or the mini processor attachment of your immersion blender (you did buy one…right?) or blender container, combine the boiling water and tamarind. Let stand 2 minutes to soften the tamarind. Process until completely combined.

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Add the remaining ingredients; process until completely combined.

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Store in covered container in the refrigerator for two weeks.

Makes: scant 1/4 cup

 

 

A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo *

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A trio of WHAT???  That would have been my response to this post just a few months ago.

Let’s start with the answer to WHAT????  Dukkah is a nut and spice mix that is found in markets all over Egypt.  Traditionally it’s served with bread (not our strong point at this blog) and olive oil.  I discovered it at Trader Joe’s.  Just after you enter the store they have a tasting station where unsuspecting customers are seduced into buying products that were not on their shopping lists.

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Most of the time I have to pass up the tasting station because there is cheese or other dairy products in the samples, but on this fateful day they had dukkah (and I was still eating bread at the time).  I dipped the bread in the olive oil and then in the dukkah and tasted it. Hmmm….I’m not sure how I feel about it.  Theirs was very anise-y and I’m on the fence about licorice flavored things – but, I buy it anyway.

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I get home and have an intense need to try it again and BOOM – love at second bite!  Suddenly I’m sprinkling it on everything from scrambled eggs, to tuna or potato salad, to smoked salmon, to hummos, to garnishing soups, seasoning chicken, fish, meats and/or kebabs, dipping bananas and Tofutti Cuties (soy ice cream sandwiches) into it.  Everything tastes better with dukkah on (or in) it.

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Now not being someone who leaves well enough alone, I had to learn more about it.  I checked out wikipedia (the spelling and pronunciation of dukkah are a whole other post’s worth of stories), and article in The New York Times, and chocolateandzucchini.com.

Then I got to work in the kitchen and came up with some excellent (if I must say so myself) recipes.  The variations are totally not traditional and none of them have anise.

Of course there are many ways to present this as a gift here are just a few ideas.

* Buy a really nice spice jar or just a regular ball jar and make a cover for it (not a hard job even if you are not too crafty).  This is a good not-too-expensive gift to give when you have lots of people on your list who you can give the same gift to.  For me, it’s my soup kitchen team.

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*  Put a jar (or 3) of Dukkah or jars of Dukkah ingredients and give them – along with the recipe AND an immersion blender with mini processor attachment

* Make a Dukkah Basket with dukkah you’ve prepared and a bottle of really nice olive oil or balsamic vinegar and fresh bread if you are giving the gift the same day as you pack it.
Continue reading A Trio of Dukkahs – Great Gift Ideas

Homemade Coconut Milk

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Why make your own coconut milk when it’s so easy to buy  canned or in boxes?  I have several reasons…first of which is I’m trying to avoid cans.  I guess if you read enough stuff on the internet you can find that anything you use is harmful to your health, but I’ve decided to buy into the “bad stuff from cans leach into the food” theory.  The coconut milk in boxes have ingredients other than coconut and water; like gums and most importantly carrageenan – I have no idea what that is, but I’ve read it’s not good for you.

Now I understand that the idea of making coconut milk at home may be daunting.  All you need is the shredded unsweetened coconut,

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water, a blender, a strainer, a spoon or soft spatula, and a container to store the coconut milk.  The fact is, it takes less than 10 minutes to make; you know what’s in it; and it’s much less expensive than canned or boxed.  To me this is a no brainer.  I do admit the down side is that you have to wash the blender and strainer and measuring cup and spoon/spatula – buy hey, I have a dishwasher – so it’s not soooo difficult and the fringe benefit is:  I make coconut flour out of the used coconut – but that’s for another post.

What about the flavor?  Although it’s coconutty (duh), it’s less intense than the canned kind, but more flavorful than the boxed ones.  If you want more intense coconut flavor from homemade, double the amount of coconut in this recipe.

Where do I get my coconut?  This is very important…I do NOT use the shredded coconut you find in the supermarket because that stuff is sweetened.  You have to use unsweetened shredded (or flaked) dried coconut.  You can find it in health food stores or ethnic markets that sell Indian or Asian ingredients…or online, of course.  Speaking of not using sweetened coconut, if you are buying canned coconut milk be sure you’re not buying the sweetened one which is like sweetened condensed milk.

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The Asian brands are generally unsweetened as is the Goya pictured at the top of the post.  Just check the label the only ingredients should be coconut and water.

When you’ve made the coconut milk you will see that it separates after it stands for a bit  with the cream rising to the top (just like real milk).

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You can remove the cream with a spoon and that will leave you with “light” coconut milk.  The cream can be whipped to make a non-dairy topping (also for a future post).  I used the full fat coconut milk in the recipe I posted last week for the Butternut Apple Soup and I will be using it in my Pumkin Pie Tartlets coming in the next week or two.

I feel like a real pioneer when I make my own ingredients from scratch.  Try it, it’s fun.
Continue reading Homemade Coconut Milk

Gearing Up for Thanksgiving: Apple Tomatillo Chutney

Wheat-free * Dairy-free * Gluten-free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve * Paleo*

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It’s the week after Halloween, that makes it officially “Start Thinking About Thanksgiving” time.  I’ve already invited my guests and I’m starting to work on my menu.  I’ve also created a new category “Thanksgiving” (column on the right) of recipes I’ve already tested and published that would be suitable for the T-day table.  There are about 25 recipes in this category such as Gluten-free Dairy-free Cornbread, Crunchy Red Cabbage Salad, Fruited Quinoa Salad with Fresh Ginger Dressing, for dessert there’s Apple Galette, Chocolate Torte, or Maple Glazed Pears. Some of the recipes are very traditional some less; some could use tweaking…for instance the Roasted Chicken recipe is exactly what I will be doing for my turkey, however, I will double or triple the rub, depending on the weight of my bird, and of course, the cooking time will be much longer.  I’m planning on using the Tzimmes recipe for my candied sweet potatoes…increasing the potatoes and deleting the carrots and prunes.  So go browse and see if any of these recipes inspire your holiday menu and don’t forget to click on “Older Posts” since there are only 10 recipes per page.

I’m still inundated with apples and this week I got tomatillos from the CSA too.  Therefore, this Thanksgiving, in addition to cranberry sauce and/or relish, I’m going to serve Apple Tomatillo Chutney – you can never have too many condiments on the table and this one is really delish.  I’m also going with an apple soup instead of squash (look for the recipe next week). There are 2 squash soup recipes I’ve already published if you want to go the more traditional route.

So Happy Planning…lots more Thanksgiving ideas/recipes to come.
Continue reading Gearing Up for Thanksgiving: Apple Tomatillo Chutney

Pickled Beets

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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Summer is winding down.  All those wonderful tomatoes I have been cooking with are disappearing from my CSA pickup.  The only tomatoes that arrived this week was a pint of yellow cherry tomatoes.  But, sad as the end of tomato season is, other goodies are beginning to appear.  This week we has beets, and squash, and cauliflower.

I love beets.  Generally I just roast them, but this week I decided to venture further than usual and make pickled beets.  I’m kind of forced into this decision as my favorite brand of store bought pickled beets “greenwood” seems to have disappeared from the supermarket shelves and in it’s place is “nelly’s” which has way too much clove for my taste.  Although I do like pickled beets as a side dish by themselves, mostly I use them to make beet horseradish to serve with my (store bought) gefilte fish.  All you have to do is put some drained pickled beets into a food processor and puree them until somewhere between finely chopped and pureed.  Then just stir in prepared horseradish (I use Gold’s white horseradish) to taste.

I served the horseradish with A & B salmon gefilte fish (it’s gluten free) that I buy frozen in a log, then boil according to package directions.  It was a real hit at my break-fast.
Continue reading Pickled Beets

Tomato Paste and Bananas

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OMG that sounds like an awful combination!!  What on earth can you do with tomato paste and banana?  Good question.  If you have a recipe that uses them together, please be sure to forward it to me.  But since this is Friday, and Friday is our day for This and That – the topic is:  What do you do with over-ripe bananas and open cans of tomato paste beside discard them?  The answer to both is:  freeze them.

Freeze the tomato paste in 1 tablespoon portions and then you have them on hand for any recipe that calls for less than the full can.   You can toss them into soup or sauce that needs a little flavor or color boost or any recipe that calls for tomato paste.

Place a large piece of plastic wrap on a flat surface.  Measure the tomato paste in a tablespoon and place the contents of the tablespoon onto the plastic wrap.  Do the same with 2 more tablespoonsful.  Fold the wrap over the tomato paste and place one tablespoon of tomato paste in the gaps between the three you have folded in the plastic wrap.  Continue until you have used all of your leftover tomato paste.

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Frozen Banana Coins are like nature’s ice cream.  Whenever you’re feeling a yen for something sweet just pop one in your mouth.  They’re also great for smoothies.

Prepare them the same way as the tomato paste.

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Here’s a recipe for a breakfast smoothie using frozen banana coins
Continue reading Tomato Paste and Bananas

Tapenade

Paleo * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve *

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I worry sometimes that I might be a food hoarder.  I buy replacements for things when they are less than half empty and I must have a complete supply of ingredients on hand at all times.  So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I tell you I just threw this together with stuff I had in the refrigerator.

Now I sometimes justify my immense pantry and overstocked refrigerator with the fact that I am, and have been for the last 30 or so years, a food writer.  There’s nothing more annoying than tasting a recipe you’ve just written and finding that it needs “just a little something” to make it perfect; figuring out that “the little something” should be pomegranate molasses or fresh rosemary (or ketchup or vinegar or garlic powder or fresh lemon juice, etc.), and then finding the bottle empty or the herb very sadly wilted.  So I keep everything imaginable in my refrigerator and pantries (notice there is/are? more than one not-to-neat, over stocked pantry in my New York City apartment – where space is at a premium).

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Tapenade is one of those items I like to have on hand.  It’s fairly salty and slightly acidic so it’s a good perker-upper for dishes that may seem a little bland.  Here’s a sampling of things I might do with it:  Add some to plain spaghetti sauce to make instant Putenesca sauce, stir it into cream cheese or tofutti to make a very zippy cream cheese and olive sandwich (that was when I was eating dairy and wheat), stir it into mayonnaise (or yogurt or some combination of the two) for a dipping sauce for crudities or shrimp or artichokes (microwaved, of course) or for a salad dressing; combine it with diced tomatoes or roasted red peppers as a topping for bruschetta or sauce for fish or chicken; add to vinaigrette to add zip or to use as a marinade; toss a little into scrambled eggs or the filling for omelets; stir some into tuna or egg salad; you get the point.  It’s nice to have something versatile in the fridge when you just need a little something.  Oh, and of course I’ve forgotten the most common use for tapenade which is to serve it as an hors d’ouvre with bread (if you eat it) or (gluten free) crackers.
Continue reading Tapenade

Tahini Dip and Dressing

Wheat free * Dairy free * Gluten free * Vegetarian * Vegan * Parve

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Today is the first day of my CSA (community sponsored agriculture).  For anyone not familiar with the term, it is an arrangement where you join (for lack of a better word) or buy shares from a farm early in the year then during the summer you get free produce from that farm.  It works for the farmers who get funds to buy seeds, equipment, pay employees and for the members, fresh vegetables (usually organic) at reasonable prices.  My farm is called Roxbury Farm, they are in New York State and have been operating for twenty something years.  Each week during the summer I get a newsletter and on Thursdays I pick up the produce at a local church (I’ll take pictures soon).  The amount of produce is very generous and I have friends who share my share with me.  So what you see here is really only 1/3 of a share – since it is early in the summer, lettuce and greens make up a majority of the share.  Look for lots of recipes using my CSA produce.

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On Tuesday I promised you a use for pickled onions – here is one:  add it to salads to add texture, color and a contrasting flavor.  This is just the first of many times you will see them here.

Tahini is the name of a product made of ground sesame seeds (and sometimes oil) and is similar to, but thinner than, almond butter.  You can find it in any store that sells Middle Eastern products or in any health food store.  It’s also available in some supermarkets. Like almond butter, it will separate into solids on the bottom with oil on the top.  Stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and without lumps before using in recipes.

The name tahini is also used to describe a dip/dressing made with tahini plus lemon juice, garlic, water, and other seasonings.  I always associate tahini with hummos or falafel because that’s how I first encountered it on a trip to Israel – about a million years ago.  Now when I have it in my refrigerator I find lots of other things to do with it, especially since going dairy free.  It has a creaminess that is somewhat like sour cream.  I serve it as a dip with crudities; a sauce with lamb burgers or shish kebobs; and as a dressing for salads.

If I were a really ambitious blogger I would also give you a recipe for your own homemade tahini; but since I’m not that ambitious I will simply refer you to sites where you can get the recipe: http://thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com/2012/10/homemade-tahini.html, http://www.food.com/recipe/homemade-tahini-73859, http://www.yumsugar.com/Homemade-Tahini-Recipe-25190494.  The first site uses only sesame seeds, the other two use oil in addition to the sesame seeds.  Having never made it myself, I can’t advise you on that.  Having eaten it I can assure it is yummy.
Continue reading Tahini Dip and Dressing