Sunday, July 31, 2011

Beet and Kale Salad to support the liver

Although I still haven't managed to give up gluten, I'm nevertheless eating a lot of the high-antioxidant dishes my naturopath has recommended, including the above Beet and Kale Salad.

All of the main ingredients in the dish are believed to be great sources of liver support, including kale, beets, carrots, onions and garlic.

Instead of going on a fast to cleanse the liver, many naturopaths believe you can just as easily and much more safely cleanse the liver by eating such foods. It sure tastes better than drinking water spiked with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne!

Beet and Kale Salad

4 large beets
1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 bunch kale
3 scallions
1 medium carrot

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 teaspoon finely diced garlic

Wash beets and bring to a boil in a large pot. After boiling bring to a simmer, continue to simmer for one hour, until tender. Let cool, then peel beets and cut into 3/4-inch pieces.

In the meantime, lightly toast the pumpkin seeds by placing them in a dry skillet and cooking over medium heat. Constantly stir the seeds to ensure even cooking. When they begin to pop and give off a nutty aroma, they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Wash kale and place in a large pot of boiling water for 30 seconds. Place in strainer and cool with cold water, cut into bite size pieces. Finely dice the green onions and peel the carrot. Slice into 1/8-inch rounds.

Place all dressing ingredients in a bowl and mix well with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl place chopped beets, chopped kale, diced green onions, sliced carrots and pumpkin seeds. Add dressing and toss gently. Serve chilled.

Serves: 6

Courtesy Bastyr University

Monday, July 11, 2011

My love for Morbier is stinking up the fridge

Why does Costco feel the need to tempt me with their delicious cheeses? Now they've added Morbier to the selection, and my fridge will forever smell like stinky feet because of it.

But what a great snack, with sliced apples and salami, for "True Blood" night!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sprucing up the classic BLT

Forgive me for slacking off lately, but Bryan's the one who really needs to forgive me because I feel like my culinary skills have just been so boring lately!

Here's what we had for lunch today: Modified BLTs. Is that even a blogworthy subject?

I replaced the tomatoes in Bryan's with a fried egg, and both also had sliced avocado and American cheese to keep things from getting too boring. Served on toasted Dave's Killer Seed Bread, it was certainly a delicious lunch, but hardly an award-winning meal.

Perhaps if I had made a Mom-style BLT, which she always made with a tasty layer of peanut butter, it might not be so boring. Unfortunately, I haven't yet convinced Bryan that PB & B is a tasty combination, but it's really time for him to get on the bandwagon. Everybody else is eating such culinary delights as the Peanut Butter Bacon Burger from The Slip in neighboring Kirkland, and in just a slight variation, there's also the Smokey Bacon Maple Bar from Frost Doughnuts in Mill Creek.

Now that proves Mom's a woman a few decades ahead of her time, so far ahead that I think she may already have retired that calorie bomb and replaced it with tomorrow's more healthy culinary trend. The rest of us will catch up after the bacon catches up with us!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy is better at home

Like nearly everybody who studies or works at Bastyr, I recently wound up giving up gluten — or at least trying to — to see if it would affect my health in a positive way.

There are numerous studies that associate wheat and related products with myriad health problems, and although I completely believe in all of those studies and am not even that huge of a fan of wheat products, it's dang hard to quit gluten and I failed miserably.

I feel like a horrible person for giving up so quickly, especially considering how many of my gluten-free friends have no choice. Eating gluten-free at home was a breeze. Sure, I love pasta and pizza, but I also love polenta and quinoa. However, going out to eat was nearly impossible, even in my neighborhood that boasts numerous gluten-free restaurants.

The laughable part of going gluten-free is that I gorged myself on wheat products both before and after quitting, simply because I knew I was going to have to quit. In the middle of my first week, all I wanted were biscuits and gravy. I tried to think of a way to make them that was gluten-free, but it sounded a little too tough for a novice gluten-free baker/cook. So as soon as I quit that diet, I was determined to make biscuits and gravy from scratch.

My Southern Buttermilk Biscuits were a little on the thin side, so I will have to work on flattening those a little less next time. And the gravy was a bit on the meaty side, so I think I will double the milk next time, and also add some fresh sage as Dan suggested.

Sausage Gravy
1 package Jimmy Dean's Sage Sausage
About 1/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
Bacon grease as needed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Break up the sausage in a skillet and stir until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the milk in a separate saucepan or in the microwave. When sausage is cooked, removed with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle some of the flour in the pan to create a roux with the grease. I didn't have much grease in the pan, so I added about 1-2 T. of bacon grease.

Keep stirring roux with a whisk until the mixture is thick, but still somewhat liquid. Slowly add the milk in a steady stream and continue whisking to eliminate any chunks. Bring the gravy to a low boil and let simmer for a couple of minutes, until thickened. Add sausage, then salt and pepper to taste, and serve over warm biscuits sliced in half.