Bean Salad with Chard & Chives

We have lots of lovely rainbow chard brightening our plates this week. Kale and spinach too, which all seems to go down with a bit more enthusiasm when combined with various forms of garlic. Fresh green garlic chives and scallions are in great shape this spring, a flavorful garnish for pretty much anything. Lately I’ve been favoring this cold white navy bean salad with chives, chard, fresh lemony sorrel, parsley, olive oil, lemon juice (a bit of zest would add oomph), salt & white pepper. I chop up the rainbow chard stems like celery, a colorful crunch, then slice the greens up finely. This is a refreshing way to use up some of the abundant greens this spring.

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Celebrating Spring with Mint & Mango

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Fresh-tasting split pea soup with mint & mango (& other green herbs: thyme, parsley, sage, tarragon, celery, plus turmeric & white pepper). Surprisingly delicious, savory combination! We happened to get a surplus stock of 20 cases of very ripe mangoes… time for smoothies & mango salsa!

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Deep dark loaf: whole wheat, oats, rye, buckwheat, molasses. Sweet & Earthy.

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The courtyard in bloom, complete with kitty & lilacs

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First rhubarb harvest of the year! Mango-rhubarb jam?

Dragon Eggs

Dragon eggs for Brunch! I used pickled beet juice to dye some hardboiled eggs pink, and tried to use wasabi/turmeric/scallions for green but ended up adding some food coloring to that one… turned out pretty cool, kinda tie-dyed. Better color after soaking them overnight without their shells. Happy Spring!

More from brunch: the finished eggs, & cinnamon rolls (vegan, with a ground sunflower seed filling)

Chocolate mud pie with Mint seedlings!

Chocolate pudding with crumbled chocolate cake “dirt,” with mint sprigs “planted” as tasty seedlings! Even made one pan a VGF no white sugar version, with sorghum. Spring has me feeling cutesy about food. The other week, I made an egg basket with a bed of kale for grass, and boiled the eggs with beet juice and turmeric for color. 17821065_1602441943118926_268973652_n17814005_1602441866452267_839711818_n

The Many Faces of Tofu

At the farm, we make a lot of extra-firm tofu – it’s a business of ours, so we eat a lot of it too! We had a website which had posted some of my recipes, which is being redesigned right now. I thought I’d lost the recipes, but come to find out I did end up making a backup of it! Tofu is such a blank slate that really, a lot of creative possibilities exist. Here are a few of my favorite recipes I’ve developed over the years of dressing up tofu. Really, any kind of sauce could be put on it after baking it for 15-20 minutes, sliced or cubed. Honey-mustard, BBQ, marinara, pesto, spicy peanut, orange glaze…

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Honey-Walnut Tofu

tofu, plain extra-firm, 1 Lb
oil for baking, about 2 Tb
coconut milk, half a can (shaken)
honey, half cup
lemon juice, 2 tsp
water, 3/4 cup
canola oil (gmo-free if possible), 1 Tb
salad mustard, 2 tsp
fresh ginger, 1 tsp grated
salt to taste, quarter tsp perhaps
cornstarch, 2 Tb
walnuts, half cup

Cut the tofu into bite-size pieces, such as cubes or triangles, about a half inch thick. Toss the tofu pieces in oil to coat them. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake at 350 F for 15-20 minutes, until golden and crispy on the outside, but still moist and chewy inside. Toast the walnuts in a cast-iron skillet, no oil, on medium-high heat. Stir them frequently for 5-10 minutes, until they are browned and aromatic, and set them aside. To make the sauce: in a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with 4 Tb of the water til smooth, and set aside. In a separate sauce pot, combine the coconut milk, honey, lemon, remaining water, oil, mustard, ginger, and salt. Heat on medium-high heat to a low simmer. Whisk the cornstarch liquid into the rest of the sauce. Continue whisking until the sauce thickens slightly (about 1 minute), then remove from heat. Stir together the baked tofu, walnuts, and sauce. Let stand for a few minutes to allow the tofu to absorb some of the sauce. Serve over rice, best with white basmati cooked with a little shredded coconut.

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Cardamom Cream Tofu Soup (similar to the Thai Tom Kha soup)

serves 4

1 lb. tofu, plain extra firm
1 quart whole dairy milk (or almond milk)
1 can coconut milk
1 cup water
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt, or to taste
1 tsp cardamom seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 dash fresh-ground black pepper
a few sprigs of fresh parsley, chopped

Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Toss all other ingredients (except the parsley) into a soup pot, and heat until just below a simmer. Do not allow to boil. Add tofu cubes and heat on low, 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle fresh parsley on top.

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Mu Shu Tofu

Vegan, gluten-free

serves 4-6

1 lb. tofu, plain extra firm
1 head of cabbage
2 carrots
half an onion
5 florets of broccoli
4 oz baby bella mushrooms
4 oz woodear mushrooms (optional)
2 tsp fresh grated ginger
3 Tbsp non-GMO canola oil
approx. dozen mu shu pancakes, or flour tortillas
1 jar of plum sauce, or make your own, recipe follows

Shred the tofu by hand using a grater. A mandolin is perfect for slicing the cabbage, carrots, onion, and broccoli very thinly, but if you don’t have one, either grate them or slice super thin. Slice the mushrooms thinly too.

Heat the oil in a pan or wok. Add all the veggies, tofu, and ginger and stirfry until quite soft. Gently warm the tortillas. Serve the stirfy inside a wrap with plenty of plum sauce.

Homemade Plum Sauce

1 cup dried prunes (fresh can be used too, if flavorful enough – taste first)
2 cups water
half cup soy sauce
half cup molasses
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp dried ginger, to taste

Boil the prunes in the water until very soft, about 15 minutes. They should be mushy and plump. Let cool slightly, then place plums and their juice in a blender or food processor. Add all other ingredients, and puree until smooth.

Flour + Water + Yeast + Salt + Determination

It has been a while since my last update – July?  The last 6 months have been magnanimous; an otherwise brutal 2016 has thankfully been personally abundant. Our freezers are full of okra, peppers of all colors, squash, and soon our first beef slaughter of 2017.

Sadly, I let my sourdough stay in the fridge for the past 3 months, and have yet to revive it. There were about 6 weeks this fall when our usual bread flour supplier fell through and we were stuck buying all-purpose bleached flour and using up older stock of whole wheat. In just that time I got out of the habit of twice-weekly sourdough maintenance, though I may try to get back into a new sourdough this spring. Just goes to show that determination may be the fifth critical ingredient in bread, not just flour + water + yeast + salt.

I’m hoping to get back into the habit of writing regularly again, and have a few topics in mind. Stay tuned…

 

Cinna-swirl Elephant Ear memories

Food memories are strong. I’ve been nostalgic for the bakeries of my Vermont childhood, and there are many great ones. As a teenager, instead of church on Sunday mornings, I took guitar lessons. Afterwards, while others were still in church, my mom and I drove to a couple of bakeries – sometimes glazed donuts, or powdered jellies. Most magical were the cinnamon twists and elephant ears that I couldn’t imagine how to make as a younger person. I ended up briefly interning at this favorite bakery in my senior year of high school. Some of my earliest memories are of making eclairs from scratch with my mom, a baker herself who would show me everything from pies to gravy. Her influence, as well as a few weeks’ worth of 2am mornings and cinnamon twisted into different pastry forms in jovial musical bakeries taught me to dream more of what is possible with baking. My mom passed away a bit more than a year ago, and I miss cooking with her, terribly. She is still present, honored, influential, alive, in my cooking. These days, a great Sunday is still complete with art and flaky cinnamon treats in a secular peace.