Friday, August 22, 2014

Rosemary Butternut Squash

Just in time for Fall.  
If you are a Butternut squash and rosemary fan, this is a must try. 
It was amazing tasting, aromatic, and my kids loved it. 

2 butternut squash, peeled, gutted, and cut into 1 inch cubes
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
3 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
Sea Salt to taste

Heat oven to 425*.  Place squash and two sprigs of rosemary in a large mixing bowl, and toss to coat with 1.5 Tablespoons of coconut oil. 
Place uncovered in oven in foil lined baking dish or sheet with edges. 
Bake for 15 minutes, stir, and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until squash is fork tender. 

Heat remaining coconut oil in a small frying pan, and once hot, add rosemary.  Cook until just before the rosemary begins to crisp.  Pour over cooked squash, salt to taste, and gently toss.  Serve warm. 

Eight Grain Meatless Meatloaf, or Meatless Tex Mex Base

This recipe uses eight grains, and natural ingredients. While it can easily be classified as "vegan" or "vegetarian", it is basically, "grain loaf and black bean burger meet Mexico".
While I originally served this as a tex-mex style meatloaf, I very quickly realized what an amazing non-meat base this can be used for in hispanic cooking (which I love).  A perfect meatless base for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, tostadas, taco get the point.  

One beauty of this recipe is that as there is no raw meat, everything can be adjusted according to taste and preference for flavor, even prior to baking.  Taste as you go! 

1.5 cups cooked black beans (recipe here)
1.5 cups cooked, then blended wheat berries (wheat berry recipe)
1 cup cooked black rice (other rices may be substituted)
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup uncooked oatmeal
2 Tablespoons chia
2 Tablespoons ground flax seed (garnish)
1.5 Tablespoons chili powder
1.5 Tablespoons cumin
4 diced garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion, diced
1.5 cups corn
1 - 1.5 cups broth (vegetable, or any other if not going vegan or vegetarian) or wheat berry juice
1/2 cup salsa or pico de gallo (recipe)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
4 mini peppers diced
2.5 teaspoons key lime juice
Salt and black pepper to taste
JalapeƱos (optional - to taste) 
Sour cream & cheese for garnish (not vegan)

Heat oven to 350* F. 
In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly mix all ingredients except flax seed.  When adding the broth, take care not to add too much.  The mixture should be moist, but still hold its shape.  
Divide mixture and place into two greased/oiled bread loaf pans (9x4 or 5). 
Cover with foil and bake until heated through (approx. 25 minutes) 
Remove foil and allow to cook for an additional 10-15 minutes to allow outside to harden and form a bit of a crust.  

Serve with chopped jalapeƱos, pico de gallo (recipe), salsa, freshly diced onion, sour cream, or cheese etc.  Sprinkle with crushed flax seed (it loses its nutrient value when heated). 

May be served on a bed of lettuce with tortilla chips, fresh tomatoes, olives, pico de gallo, and cheese as a rice and beans component for a taco salad, or used as the 'meat' base for enchiladas, tacos, or spread upon tostada tortillas.  

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Jack Fruit: Nuts and Smoothies

Every time I go to the Asian market, we buy something new, and jack fruit was this week's experimental fruit.
Now, the owner of the store said that it is sweeter than pineapple and really yummy.  We bought it last night and left it on the counter overnight.
They sold it cut in half and in retrospect, I realize that it was on the edge of expiration, But I didn't know that when I was buying it.
It wasn't cheap, and we really liked it-the parts that weren't rotten that is.
While it is great in fruit salads and also by itself, we also boiled the nuts for 25 minutes. ( until fork tender) peeled off the outer shell and enjoyed the nuts by themselves.
Since we live in Florida, we decided to try our hand at growing one ourselves- then we can enjoy it green or ripened!
Here's a recipe for a fantastic smoothie using jack fruit.
My kids even liked this one :)

1/2 cup Jack fruit
2 sprigs fresh mint
2 sprigs chocolate mint ( if you can find it)
2 sprigs stevia
1/2 cup creamed coconut (found in the asian market refrigerator)
2 Tablespoons fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground
3 fresh figs (kombota if you can find them)
1/4 fresh pineapple cut into chunks
2 cups of ice
1 cup of cold water as needed for desired thickness

Blend and serve immediately
No additional sweetener is necessary if the jack fruit is ripe