Sunday, February 21, 2010

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

Oh how I adore this simple little dressing!

Pomegranate Vinaigrette

1 garlic clove, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/3 c. pomegranate juice
1/2 c. good quality extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb. balsamic vinegar
1 Tb. of Dijon mustard* plus agave to taste
sea salt to taste

Combine all ingredients with hand held blender for best results. You could also use a whisk, but it will not stay emulsified. Will keep refrigerated for 1 week (but I doubt it will last that long!)

This is fantastic with baby spinach, thinly sliced apple or pear, avocado, toasted walnuts or pecans, dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries (or a combination) or fresh pomegranate seeds.

*The original recipe is from CLEAN FOOD by Terry Walters and calls for a 'zesty honey mustard' but I used a creamy Dijon with a bit of agave to sub for the honey.

I should note that personally I will always choose to use less of a full fat dressing than resort to a low-fat dressing. You can use less because the oil helps coat the salad better. However, feel free to experiment with the proportions if you want to cut back on the oil.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Guilty Pleasure- Biscuits and Gravy

A decade ago, I had never had biscuits and gravy before. In fact, I had never even heard of them, until on our honeymoon Jim was craving them for breakfast. As he enjoyed his biscuits and gravy, of course made with sausage gravy, I looked on, intrigued by this newly discovered comfort food. I even felt a little disappointed not to try them. Fast forward many years: It was actually my father-in-law Karl, who raises grass fed beef and is a die-hard meat eater, who taught me a kinder method of preparation. I am still to this day grateful for this lesson! And now, this is Jim's favorite breakfast (for special occasions only, since this is clearly NOT health food!)

Biscuits and Gravy - Veg Style

Biscuit ingredients
1 2/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour (can sub up to half whole wheat)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2/3 c. non-dairy milk*
1/3 c. canola oil

Gravy ingredients
Your choice of veg sausage
3-4 T. of non-dairy butter**
3-4 T. flour
3 c. non-diary milk
salt and freshly ground pepper

Whisk together dry biscuit ingredients. Add wet biscuit ingredients and stir with a fork to combine. Batter will be very thick. Drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake a 475 degrees for 8-10 minutes.


Cook sausage according to package directions.

Melt butter in a heavy bottomed saute pan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Slowly add milk and stir regularly. As the mixture heats up, the flour and butter will gradually combine with the milk to thicken it. (This roux recipe is based on my 1951 Better Homes and Garden cookbook-"borrowed" from my mother when I moved out of her house -thanks Mom!) When gravy is thick, add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (this is good with lots of pepper!). Stir in the cooked sausage.

Serve gravy over biscuits and sit around and groan since you will probably eat way too much.

*I am a big fan of Westsoy Organic Unsweetened Soymilk. It has a nice neutral flavor for cooking and no added sweetener.
**Earth Balance is my go to non-dairy butter. Yum!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

When I got home from work tonight, not only did I want a snack, but I needed to make lunch for tomorrow. I got an urge to make this salad, inspired by a very fresh and clean tasting rice noodle salad that I enjoyed at the Saigon Cafe in Colorado Springs while at a conference recently. I just happened to have the ingredients on hand. I cooked a whole package of rice noodles and also happened to have rice paper on hand to make spring rolls (that was my snack!) with tofu and peanut sauce....mmmmmm!

Warning: I just threw this together and didn't really measure, so use your best judgment. These measures below are pretty close, but a guess on my part!

Vietnamese Rice Noodle Salad

4 oz. dry thin rice noodles

1/4 fresh squeezed lime juice
1-2 Tb. tamari
1-2 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. grated ginger

1-2 Tb slivered fresh basil
2 carrots, grated
1/2 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and sliced into matchsticks
1-2 cups chopped napa cabbage or romaine lettuce

1/4 chopped peanuts
4-8 oz. tofu, lightly fried in a tiny amount of peanut oil (Optional)

Boil a large pot of water. When it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and put the dry noodles in the hot water to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and strain.

While noodles are soaking, combine lime juice, sesame oil, tamari, and ginger and whisk to make the dressing.

Toss the noodles with the dressing and vegetables, top with peanuts and optional tofu.

This could also work with scallions, red pepper sliced into thin strips, mint or cilantro.