StillPoint Schoolhouse Store

Monday, August 8, 2011

Garden Gazpacho

Between my garden and the Farmers market there is an abundance of fresh produce ripening before my very eyes. Expecting guests for lunch today I brought the blender up from the basement, spent some time in the garden picking vegetables and set to work creating this delicious cool summer soup. I call it an Irish gazpacho, because, well, because I made it up and though not exactly true to the Spanish version it deserves some recognition of its own.

I suggest serving this soup chilled with a garnish of chopped chives, scallions and cherry tomatoes to add a bit of chew to the creaminess of the puree and because I left out the garlic and onion so as not to overpower the taste of the other ingredients.

Garden Gazpacho
Yields 5 cups or 1 blender full

3 large yellow tomatoes
6 fresh basil leaves
Handful of parsley tops
1 small green pepper, seeded, chopped
1 sweet banana pepper, seeded, chopped
1 5" cucumber, peeled, seeded, chopped (I used a pickling cuke)
1 teaspoon Ume Plum vinegar
3 tablespoons Brown Rice vinegar (or to taste)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt to taste

1. Slice the tomatoes and squeeze them into a bowl or measuring cup. Make sure to remove all the seeds. Set aside. Slice the tomatoes and put them into the blender.
2. Add the basil, parsley, peppers and cucumber.
3. Place a small strainer over the blender and strain the juice from the inside of the tomatoes into the blender. Press down gently to extract as much of the juice as possible.
4. Add the vinegars, oil and 1/2 a teaspoon of sea salt. (You can add more after the first puree)
5. Puree the ingredients on high until it is well blended and smooth, with no lumps. Season to taste adding more salt or vinegar as needed.
6. Chill well before serving. Serve with minced chives, scallion and cherry tomatoes. You can also hold back some cucumber and pepper to add to each bowl as well.

NOTE: If you do not have Ume Plum vinegar (a salty vinegar) on hand use more salt and some extra rice vinegar. Add small amounts at a time and blend briefly, to get the taste you want.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Summer Lunch From the Sea

There has been a lot going on in the StillPoint Schoolhouse kitchen these past few hot summer weeks. There was the July Fermenting/Pickling class, then I played hostess to out-of-town guests, and finally the Herbal Medicine making class last night. In between I picked up some wild Alaskan pollock.  Wanting a grouper type of sandwich, I marinated the pollack in a combination of Honey Ginger vinegar, toasted sesame oil and tamari soy sauce. This marinade works wonders with wild salmon as well.

On the side I sauteed onions from the garden and a fat red pepper, then served it over a bed of fresh garden greens while still warm, which also worked to soften the topping of herb goats cheese. So delicious! The pollock was then grilled and served on a spelt bun toasted on the griddle. I love to combine Vegenaise with salsa and pour that over fish, but others might prefer their own condiment to finish off this amazing lunch.

Ingredients List
Serves 1 hungry person

1/2 pound wild Alaskan pollock or other white fish
1 spelt hamburger bun
Marinade (to your taste): Honey Ginger vinegar, toasted sesame oil, tamari soy sauce
1 small sweet onion, cut into half moons
1/2 red pepper, seeded and sliced
Drizzle of sesame or olive oil (to saute the onion and pepper)
Handful of fresh garden greens and edible herbs, hand torn

Sauce: 1 teaspoon Vegenaise to 1 tablespoon chopped fresh salsa

See instructions above.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Broccomole and Pesto Cole Slaw

There is a lot happening here in Blairstown as the town folk gear up for the 4th of July festivities. I was invited by the Foodshed Alliance to prepare a few dish's for today's Farmers Market that might off set the heavy yang pork flavors wafting from one booth to the other. A whole, huge pig torched midnight black rested beneath the lid of a giant black roaster set up just for this special occasion, a Pig Roast. Indeed! And the line never once wore down to a trickle. Instead eager beavers, mouths wet in anticipation looked to their plates for salvation.

And I was the alternative to the pig, mother Delia admonishing the crowd to eat their veggies.

To that end I made a few recipes that stood their own against roast pork on the bar-bi. I knew there had to be plenty of flavor, a Wow surprise factor and then the realization that this was actually good for you. There was also the challenge of using what is now in season and the field was narrowed down, but not by much. I present to you here my incredible Broccomole (not a misprint) and the quintessential Cole Slaw that every 4th of July outing demands.

I figure that if Jamie Oliver can do a handful here and a sprinkle there, when writing his recipes, and that is how I cook, so be it.  The recipe for Pesto Cole Slaw was created in the early morning as the sun lifted over the lip of the garden fence while Maya, Seamus and me harvested fresh herbs for the afternoons festivities. The dew still wet upon the leaves may have something to do with the flavor, but then I bow to the earth Mother in all her glory, generosity, and culinary greatness.

Yield:  4 servings

½ cup fresh cilantro leaves
½ cup fresh parsley
1 clove garlic or 1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 scallion, chopped
2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
½  teaspoon sea salt
2 cups broccoli stems and tops, lightly steamed or blanched and cooled
1 ½ Tbs. fresh lemon juice 
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame butter)
1 tablespoon Garlic Red Pepper miso

1. Combine cilantro, parsley, garlic, scallion and olive oil in a food processor and puree until smooth (as in a pesto consistency).
2. Add the cooked broccoli and pulse to break down and combine.
3. Add the tahini and miso and run the processor, stopping to scrape down the sides from time to time.
4. When at a spreadable consistency adjust seasoning and salt to taste. Serve on crackers, crudités, or chips.

In the picture I served it with grilled tempeh and arugula on a gluten-free millet bread and it was really delicious.

Pesto Cole Slaw
Serves a crowd

1 green cabbage, chopped
½ red cabbage, chopped
sea salt
Handful fresh basil leaves, rinsed
Handful fresh parsley, rinsed
2 handfuls fresh arugula (spicier the better), rinsed
10 chive stalks, rinsed
2 cups ends of young spring onions (the green, above ground parts), rinsed, chopped
¼ cup Extra virgin olive oil
½ cup Vegenaise (a good quality mayonnaise is fine)

1. In a food processor pulse the cabbage half a processor bowl at a time. Move the pulsed cabbage to a larger bowl, sprinkling a small amount of salt over the cabbage, before adding more cabbage to the processor.
2. When all the cabbage has been pulsed into small pieces get your hands in and toss the cabbage well, mixing the two colors and coating with salt. Cover with a cloth towel and allow to sit for at least 1-2 hours.
3. Meanwhile, rinse and dry the processor.
Add the basil, parsley, arugula, chives and onion greens to the processor along with the olive oil and blend to a smooth consistency.
4. Spoon in the Vegenaise and continue to blend until smooth.
5. Spoon the pesto aioli into the cabbage making sure to mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Quick Summer Salsa

I have been eating light meals during these summer days and found myself thinking about creating a complex flavored salsa without the work of chopping multiple items.  I hit on the idea of buying a quality salsa from my local health food store, not the thick, jarred kind, but a refrigerated, juicy salsa made by a local farmer. It was loaded with tomatoes and young onions, with a taste of pepper, cilantro and garlic.

 About this time I came upon a sale on mangoes and avocados and bought one of each for my creation. For the past two days they have ripened on the kitchen counter and one more day would have tipped them over the edge of ripeness. So, this morning I snipped a handful of fresh cilantro, basil and mint from my herb garden, took out my salsa bowl and set to work. Into the bowl went the tomato salsa, along with the diced avocado, cubed mango and the minced herbs. The juice of half a lime tied it all together and with a side of whole grain and seed chips a lovely appetizer was born.

Actually, this salsa could be served over fresh grilled fish or shrimp (if you can any that are not contaminated) or for vegetarians serve it over grilled tofu, tempeh or a big fat Sun burger. The complex flavors of sweet and sour, sweet and salty, bitter and sweet, with a distant pungent taste are just enough to put a smile on your face. Let me know how you serve it in your home, I'd love to know.

Summer Salsa
Makes about 4 cups

1 16 ounce container of Tomato salsa, with juice
1 ripe avocado, diced
1 ripe mango, cubed into small pieces
Handful of fresh herbs, minced = about 2 tablespoons each or more of your favorite:
cilantro, basil, mint
Juice of half a lime or more as your taste dictates.

In a medium size bowl combine all the ingredients and mix well. Chill before serving if you can wait that long. It looks great served in a colorful dish to match the reds and golds of the salsa.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Pesto Potato Salad

Springtime in New Jersey and we make do with what is growing in our gardens and what the Farmers Market offers to us in the way of herbs, greens and root vegetables. Take this simple potato salad for example. I found the small baby red potatoes in my local farm stand, washed them off and placed them in a pot of water. I brought them to a boil, then covered and removed them from the heat to cook and cool. You can do this just before bedtime and let them cool overnight or just before leaving for work in the morning and they are ready for your return home.

The Garlic Scape Pesto was featured in this blog once before, but I will repeat the recipe here rather than make you try to find it. Make a big batch of the pesto and freeze it to use on pasta, pizza or a dollop in soup or chili. One of my favorite taste treats.

As with all potato recipes the amount of salt is important and you should always adjust a recipe to your taste. If you used more salt in the pesto then go gentle with salting the potatos as it all ties in together. And with the addition of Great Northern Beans you have a protein-fat-starch combination that works for a one dish meal. You can make this for a summer picnic or bring to a pot luck with friends and family. Most importantly, chew well and enjoy the flavors.

Pesto Potato Salad
Serves 8-10

1 pound small red potatoes (about 12-15 potatoes)
1 14.5 oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced spring green onions
1 stalk celery, slice thin and diced
1/3 cup Garlic Scape pesto (see recipe below)
1/4 cup Vegenaise

1. In medium saucepan cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Cover, turn off heat and leave until cool, about 4 hours.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the pesto.
3. When potatoes are cool slice into quarters and place in a medium size bowl.
4. Add the beans, spring onions, celery, pesto and Vegenaise, mixing well.
5. Salt to taste. Cover and chill 4-24 hours.

Garlic Scape Pesto

2 cups garlic scapes, chopped
2 large handfuls fresh arugula, washed and dried               
1 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 to 1 cup extra virgin olive oil (as needed)

1. In a food processor chop the scapes into a fine mash.
2. Add a 1/4 cup of the oil and puree.
3. Add the arugula and pulse to combine.
4. Add the basil and pulse to combine, adding more oil as needed.
5. Add the sea salt and keep the machine running while you drizzle the oil in through the chute.
6. Stop from time to time to scrape down the sides then continue to puree until it is a smooth consistency.

A note on garlic scapes: these are the flowering stems that grow out of the garlic bulb. Some people call them garlic curls and they have a short season for enjoying. This makes them all the more precious and can be used in a stir-fry, dressings, to flavor oil, or to make into a pesto. They are aromatic and pungent at the same time, so no need to add extra garlic to kick the taste up a notch.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Spring Soups

The calendar says "Spring" and yet there is still snow on the deck. Expecting another 3 inches tonight than WHAM! up into the 50's next week. A person can get a bit unsettled from these weather changes. Now, having some warm soup with lots of vegetables to keep you warm on the inside and nutritionally satisfied, brings a bright moment to an overcast day and the rich flavors can put a smile back on your face.

Two soups for you here. One I created for the Cleanse session and it was so good I had to retest it with the Organic Gardening group this past Sunday. It was still delicious, so I offer you the recipe here. I know you will want to make it from canned chickpeas, but trust me when I say cooking with the dried chickpeas is the best way to go when reaching for full flavor. Try it and you will see. (Also, because I was cooking for groups of 12-16 the recipes are large, so cut in half or freeze the extras).

Then I made a batch of dashi (Japanese style broth) and added to it until this incredible soup emerged. Luckily I made enough for a few days because I looked forward to each lunch knowing this was waiting for me. All I had to do was bring to a simmer and add my favorite butternut ravioli, turn off the heat and let it sit.  Made with wheat, but no dairy this lovely ravioli pasta even works well on its own tossed with a olive oil, garlic and anchovy sauce, mmmm mmm. Ah, but I digress. I will now let the recipes speak for themselves.

Coconut Green Curry Vegetable Soup
Serves 10-12

2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked overnight
2 cups celery hearts, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled, chopped (about 2 cups)
2 inch piece kombu
8 cups water

3 tablespoons sesame or coconut oil
½ onion, minced
3 clove garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, peeled, minced
2 tablespoons Taste of Thailand Green Curry Paste

Sea salt
1 15 ounce can coconut milk

1. Drain the soaked chickpeas and in a large, heavy saucepan combine chickpeas with the water, celery, carrots, sweet potato and kombu. Bring to a low boil and allow to cook for 40 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.
2. In a small food processor or bullet puree the oil, onion, garlic, ginger, and curry paste until well chopped and almost a paste. Actually, as much as a paste as you can get it.
3. Heat a small heavy skillet and add the curry paste mixture, stirring well. Reduce heat, cover and simmer, stirring often, until done, about 3 minutes.
4. Add the curry paste mixture to the chickpeas and vegetables. Add some of the soup water to the skillet and wash any residue into the soup.
5. Continue to simmer the soup another 10 minutes, then salt to taste and stir in the coconut milk. Heat through, turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit until ready to serve.
5. Top each individual bowl with ground sesame seeds, minced fresh cilantro or chopped peanuts and minced parsley.

Butternut Ravioli Vegetable Soup
Serves 6

6 cups water
1 4-inch piece of kombu
¼ cup bonito flakes

½ cup sliced dried shitake mushrooms
½ cup dried daikon, soaked and drained (optional, but so good for you)
1 carrot, chopped
½ onion, chopped
2 tablespoons wakame, small dried pieces
½ sweet potato peeled, chopped
Rising Moon Organic Butternut ravioli (or something similar)
2 cups fresh kale, chopped
3 teaspoons tamari soy sauce

1 teaspoon Garlic Red Pepper miso (South River)
1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)

Toasted sesame oil
Minced green onion

 1. Make the dashi (broth) in a large saucepan by combining the water, kombu and bonito flakes. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain dashi and set aside the kombu and bonito flakes to reuse for another batch of dashi.
2. In a large saucepan combine the strained dashi, shitake mushrooms, soaked daikon, carrot, onion, wakame, and sweet potato. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender. You can now take from this basic soup the amount you need and freeze or refrigerate the rest.
3. Ladle a serving or two into a smaller saucepan and add 4 ravioli per serving. Return to a simmer and add the chopped kale. Cook until ravioli is tender.
4. Meanwhile, add the miso and anchovy paste to each bowl and ladle enough broth to dissolve. Continue to add the soup with vegetables. Finish with a few drops of toasted sesame oil, minced green onion and ground toasted sesame seeds (gomasio).

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mochi with Egg and Nori

 So, this is half a package of plain mochi.

 Not real appetizing to look at, I admit, but what it becomes, with a little imagination, can be quite tasty and delicious. Mochi is a Japanese product made from cooked then pounded sweet brown rice. It is dried into a flat solid block and when baked, pan fried, grated or placed in a waffle iron, mochi transforms itself into something very different. Scroll through the archives to find several recipes using mochi, obviously a favorite of mine, especially during these long winter months.

I propose a breakfast meal that provides enough protein, carbohydrate and fat to keep you satisfied until lunchtime, and if you miss lunch it will carry you deep into the afternoon.

Pan-Fried Mochi with Egg and Nori
Serves 1

1 one-inch strip of Grainessence plain mochi
Organic olive oil spray
1 tablespoon organic olive, sesame or coconut oil
1 organic egg, preferably free range with the run of the yard
1/2 sheet nori, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup kim chi or raw cultured vegetables

Place the mochi square on its side and slice a one-inch wide strip from edge to edge.

Cut the strip in half and then cut each half strip lengthwise in half again. Then cut into squares and set aside.

Heat a small iron skillet and spray with olive oil. Add the tablespoon of olive oil and heat the oil to cover the bottom of the pan.
Lay the mochi squares in a circle around the inside of the skillet. Cook until brown on one side, then flip them over, keeping in the circle shape.
 Break the egg into the center. Use the tips of a fork to spread the egg white until it is touching each piece of mochi.
 Salt and pepper to your taste and toss the nori pieces on top the egg. Cover and cook to your liking.
When done remove egg and mochi to a small plate. Spoon the cultured vegetables into a small bowl and  serve on the side.

If you are using the cinnamon-raison mochi try a drizzle of pure maple syrup or dark agave syrup over the pan fried mochi squares.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Cucumber with Garlic Red Pepper Miso

Here is a very simple recipe that won the accolades of my students attending the Japanese Foods cooking class last week. South River is creating the most delicious miso combinations that you can easily spoon out of the jar and into a quick sauce, into soup, or mixed with nut butter to create a fantastic spread. For this recipe I used their Garlic Red Pepper miso and a splash of Mirin rice wine for a subtle sweet taste to balance the pungent/salty taste of the miso. The crisp crunch of the cucumber ties it all together and before I could grab a bite for myself the plate was empty. Guess that tells the story.

Cucumber with Garlic Red Pepper Miso Sauce
Serves 4

1 1/2 tablespoons South River Garlic Red Pepper Miso
1 tablespoon Eden Mirin (rice cooking wine)
1 tablespoons, plus 1 teaspoon water

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into short sticks

1. Mix together the miso, mirin and water until a medium thick sauce consistency.
2. Lay the cucumber sticks onto a platter and spoon the sauce over.
3. Allow to marinate for 10 minutes before serving.
4. Serve as an appetizer or alongside a green salad.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sweet Vegetable Stew

A long winter and an abundance of delicious recipes brings me back to writing them down for your enjoyment. This past Sunday I fed a large group of Body Rejuvenation Cleanse practitioners as they gathered to begin the Transition Phase of the Cleanse. Something sweet, warm and hearty was called for to help ease the sugar cravings and demonstrate how eating sweet vegetables can be very satisfying.

I served the stew with basmati brown rice, and a topping of creamy silken tofu flavored with lemon juice and enough nutritional yeast to provide a cheese flavor. As a side I served broccoli raab topped with sauteed garlic in olive oil and a fresh green salad tossed with a light vinaigrette dressing. All in all a delightful and educational afternoon spent with a wonderful group of people enjoying a healthy meal and intelligent conversation.

Sweet Vegetable Stew
Serves 6

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon cumin seeds

1 onion, chopped
3 clove garlic, minced
1" piece ginger, peeled, diced

1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala (combination of Indian herbs and spices)

2 cups sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1 carrot, chopped
1 parsnip, peeled, chopped
2 cups kabucha squash, peeled, cubed

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup sweet white wine
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 14.5 ounce can chunky tomato sauce

1 can black beans, rinsed
1 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

1. In a large dutch oven heat the oil and fry the cumin seeds until aroma is released, about 1 minute.   2. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté until onion is tender about 3 minutes, stirring often.
3. Add the cumin and coriander powder and garam masala and stir well, cooking until aroma is released, about 1 minute.
4. Add the sweet potato, carrot, parsnip and squash to onion herb mixture and stir well. Add the stock, wine and both cans of tomatoes, stir well and bring to a simmer.
5. Add the black beans and sea salt, return to simmer, cover and allow to cook until squash and carrots are tender, about 1 hour. Use a flame deflector under the pot for even distribution of the heat.
Serve over basmati brown rice with a dollop of Tofu Cream.

Tofu Cream
Makes 2 cups

16 ounces organic silken tofu
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon Ume Plum vinegar or sea salt

Place all ingredients in a food processor and puree until smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.