The Taste of Technicolor – Parsley Pesto Sauce Plus

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Parsley Sauce is delicious. Raw. Bright. This Super Food is super good for you. 

When I was a kid, going to the Sizzler for dinner, I’d always eat the garnishes off the plate – kale & parsley. That was the only way it was served back then – as the throw away garnish. Dark leafy greens are like the tattered end table that has ended up as the million dollar discovery at the Antique Road Show. Jackpot!

(Do you know that the Kale Caesar salad from Market Hall in Rockridge is the most popular deli case item, selling for 12.99 per pound and it’s not even organic kale. Note: Please buy organic kale for you and your loved ones. Kale is one of the most highly toxic pesticide crops and is on the Dirty Dozen list to alert you to buy it organic.)

Back to our beloved parsley…

Sniffing around on the internet – there’s quite a lot of glamorous news about parsley – like it beats out kale in vitamin K (who knew?). And that it dates back to the Ancient Greeks, who used parsley to decorate  athletic victors as well as and to adorn the tombs of the deceased.
It’s a traditional element in the Jewish Passover Seder, signifying the bitterness that the Jews endured for so long as slaves in Egypt. Apart from haroset (made from apples, walnuts and honey), the parsley dipped in salt water is my favorite part of the meal.
 
Wait! Do you care about this prose – or do you just want your recipe?
 
I’d really like to know. 
Here’s the loot! Make good use of it. You deserve every drop. 

This parsley sauce is wonderful as a low fat dressing for grains or salsa on tacos.

As a quick, Indian Summer meal – I’ve poured it over black-eyed peas, with a side of sauerkraut. Since I also had a little jar of Stef’s Magic Carrot Sauce, I tossed in a splash of that too as an added flavor burst.
The below recipe is written by memory and approximations – until I make it again, this is the best I can offer as your starting point. Which in my opinion is the way you will be set free from recipes.
Try it – I bestow on you these Orgasmic Kitchen “5 Rules of the Road”:  
FEEL INTO THE SAUCE 
DISCOVER THE BALANCE POINT OF SALT:FAT:ACID
TASTE AS YOU GO ALONG
YOUR PALETTE IS A TUNING FORK
COOK (& PLATE) IN TECHNICOLOR
PARSLEY SAUCE
1 Bunch of Italian Parsley (you can use curley too but it can be more bitter), Rough chopped into thirds
Juice from one Lemon
Salt
1/3 cup Olive oil
1/4 C Water
Blend all ingredients on high for about 1-2 minutes, until if emulsifies.
It should look like a bright, light green creamy sauce.
If you want a more Parsley Pesto style sauce add to above and blend:
2 cloves of garlic
2 T white miso
1/4 cup raw or slightly roasted almonds
PRESTO PESTO TIME SAVER: Make a larger batch and freeze it. I like to freeze it in individual size portions 1. Pour the pesto sauce into an ice cube tray or muffin tin and place in freezer. 2. Once frozen, pop them out and store in a ziploc in the freezer until use.
In the photo you’ll see my homemade kraut of chioggia beet, cauliflower, napa cabbage, ginger and leek…fermented in my kitchen cupboard for 2 weeks.
There are tons of RAW sauerkrauts now available. Buy yourself a jar – the sour will satisfy beyond measure, while the probiotics heal your digestive track. Seriously. Go. Now. Get your kraut on.
Oh! and the black eyed peas – what I love about black eyed peas is that they don’t need pre-soaking, but still have the consistency of beans. So if you’re craving beans and in a time pinch, black eyed peas are your girl. Plus, I love that they are eaten traditionally on New Year’s Day – and in the spirit of renewal, I eat them any time of year with the intention of calling in the new.
NOTE: If you take nothing else from this prosaic parsley preso – ALWAYS cooks your beans & legumes with a 3″ strip of kombu seaweed. Promise me that. Will you?
BTW: The magic carrot sauce – well, sorry, can’t reveal the recipe – it’s seriously delicious & seriously top-secret. We will, however, consider creative offerings as barter for the recipe.

Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes with a Savory Twist

I love starting out the day with some hearty energy sustaining grains. This recipe is this easiest way for you to have whole grain, gluten free pancakes lickity split! Make some batter and keep it in the fridge all week for fresh cakes or make a bunch and freeze em.

If you like your panqueques super fluffy, you’ll be sorely disappointed, here. Sorry.

If you like sinking your teeth into hearty german bread with soul, keep reading and get ready to salivate with delight when you sit down to enjoy your bounty.

The BASE BATTER is tres healthy and easy to make and massively versatile – I’ve even adapted in into pumpkin muffins. They are gluten-free and vegan, using flax meal instead of eggs as a binder. Because of the millet, these are especially great for diabetics (assuming they go easy on the compote).

And once cooked, they are super-versatile. They were the hit appetizer for a Thanksgiving banquet I designed last year, topping them with my chipotle pumpkin seed pesto and pickled red onions. YUM YUM YUM.

Below, are two options. There’s also a video of me cooking the pancakes and making the rueben. Time stamp at 2:04.

Savory Whole Grain Pancakes with Apple Persimmon Compote
(Vegan / Gluten-free / Sugar-free)

Base batter – Soak in a blender overnight:
1 cup millet
1 cup buckwheat
2 cups water (add a 3rd cup if you like them more crepe like)

After soaking, Blend on high and add:
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs flax seed

If you’re a purest and don’t want a savory pancake don’t add the following ingredients:

2 green onions
Handful of cilantro, approx 8 stems and leaves
1/2 tsp cumin

Once thoroughly blended, add and pulse:
1/4 cup frozen corn
1/8 cup pine nuts

On medium-high flame, heat a high heat oil in a skillet. Pour batter and cook until the edges are brown, the top appears bubbly and dry. At this point, it should be easy to flip. (If you struggle with your spatula, they aren’t cooked enough).

Fruit Compote (use any fresh seasonal fruit)
Ingredients:
1 apple
1 fuyu persimmon
2 cups water
1/8 tsp salt
2 tsp kuzu root (or arrowroot, although not as nutritiously beneficial. And please eliminate corn starch from your pantry. ‘Nuff said.)

NOTE: If you use kudzu root starch vs. arrowroot – you’ll reap the benefits of one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Chinese medicine – known to reduce hangovers, alcohol cravings, upset stomachs, migraines and allergies. Pretty good deal!

Preparation:
Dice the apple and fuyu persimmon. (Peel the apples first if they aren’t organic, since they are one of the highest pesticide crops of all produce)
Simmer in 2 cups water with 1/8 tsp sea salt until the fruit is tender.
Measure 2 tsp kuzu root powder and dissolve into cold water. (This is key – Kudzu added directly to hot liquid will coagulate). Add to simmering fruit and stir until thickened.

Serve the pancakes with a generous pour of compote and accessorize with julienned basil or mint.

Garnish with julienned fresh basil, thyme or mint

Shopping List
SAVORY VEGAN PANCAKES
[ ]Millet
[ ]Buckwheat
[ ]Sea Salt
[ ]Ground Flax Seed
[ ]Green Onions
[ ]Cilantro
[ ]Cumin
Compote
[ ]Apple
[ ]Fuyu Persimmon
[ ]Kuzu Root Powder – available in Asian section at Whole Foods or online at http://www.EdenFoods.com
[ ]Fresh Basil, thyme or mint

*****

When I was in 5th grade, my dad checked me out of school every Wednesday to go for Jewish Deli. We each always ordered the same: for me, a bagel, lox and cream cheese; for Dad, a Rueben Sandwich.

With the wild variety of mushrooms available in the winter time, I’ve created a vegan rendition, repurposing the savory pancakes and accessorizing with my favorite packaged foods that I suggest you keep on hand.

“Meatless” Mushroom Rueben Sandwich
(Vegan / Gluten-free / Sugar-free)
serves 2-4

Ingredients
2-3 cups sliced wild mushrooms, I love using king oysters and chantrelles
1 clove garlic, diced
olive oil
Savory Pancakes
Daiya Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Miso Mayo
Sauerkraut, I use a red cabbage and beet blend for the exquisite color contrast

Preparation
Saute sliced mushrooms in olive oil. Turning once browned. Add diced garlic, pinch of sea salt and a dash of vinegar to finish.
Meanwhile, on a hot griddle, prepare griddlecakes from leftover breakfast batter. Once flipped, sprinkle Daiya shredded vegan cheese to melt.
Remove pancakes onto a plate or cutting board. Add cooked mushrooms, miso mayo and top with sauerkraut.

Enjoy with a garnish of pickled veggies or sautéed kale. Delicious!

PALEO HORCHATA – Frothing at the mouth!

One of the activities that I do that puts me in an instant state of celebration is singing in a Gospel choir. The other is going to Oakland’s Ethiopian restaurant, Cafe Colluci.
The other night, driving home from choir rehearsal, craving for Ethiopian food sweeps over my mind and taste buds. I call in to order some Buticha to go –  which is kind of like hummus in consistency – creamy & thick – made from chickpea flour, olive oil, diced jalapeño peppers and tomatoes and oh!, so delicious.
As soon as I hang up, I realize that I also have a hankering for their flax seed drink. Since I know it’s made with honey, flax seed and water, I decide I’m going going to use up some of my flax seeds and experiment with making this myself.
And OH! How glad I am. It’s like getting a blood transfusion to drink this bevvie, which I soon learn is called TELBA, the Ethiopian word for flax seed.
I don’t know if I’m chronically dehydrated or if my body just loves the creamy, lightly sweet rich beverage. I think back to how much I used to LOVE thai iced teas, until I started eliminating sugar and caffeine from my diet and low and behold thai iced teas have become part of my past.
BUT TELBA – oh so good, oh! so healthy. And OH! SO EASY TO MAKE.
AND OH! How with a little added cinnamon, it resembles HORCHATA, which I love except it’s also generally made with sugar  and if you’re paleo, grains are a no-no.
OH! We have solutions, to all these forbidden fruits!
Here’s what you’ll need for TELBA / PALEO HORCHATA:
Ingredients, 4 to 6 servings
  • Flaxseed — 1 cup
  • Water — 6 cups
  • Honey — 1 to 2 tablespoons
  • Cinnamon

Method

  1. Heat a cast-iron skillet over low heat. Add the flaxseed and dry roast it in the skillet, stirring, for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
  2. Place the toasted flaxseed in a spice grinder and grind to a powder. Sift through a medium-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  3. Add the water to the flaxseed in a blender, stir and let set for about 10-20 minutes to allow the seeds to soften.
  4. Blend and serve.
  5. Note: You can also strain into a pitcher if you want a very smooth drink. I often skip this step to keep it simple.
  6. Add honey, a pinch of salt and cinnamon.
  7. Chill before serving or blend with ice.

Variations for Flavor Fun

  • Telba Firfit: Mix telba with broken up pieces of (injera) bread and heat. Serve as a sidedish. Almost like bread pudding.
  • Toasted grains, unhulled barley and sunflower seeds are sometimes added to telba for additional flavor.
  • Experiment with varied different spices, a few together or one at a time: cardamom, ginger & turmeric is another fave of mine.
  • Use this instead of milk: poured over cold or hot cereal or with a piece of chocolate cake.

Angel bearing fish

I have a confession. I’m a loner. Well, what am I really?  A woman who loves people and is also afraid to get rejected – so I can default easily to isolation – which can look like weeks going by  where I haven’t made one concrete social plan.  Yeah! This realization has been painful and as I confess to you this superpower that keeps me from getting nourished by human connection, I offer this:  I have made a commitment. I have implemented a bottom-line: I must have at least one social plan every weekend, preferably a Saturday night (or Friday) in order to build the muscle of connecting…regularly…with people I enjoy…maybe even love.

So, enters Angela, a new friend who I met when I was looking for a new housemate on my houseboat. The houseboat wasn’t a fit for her, but we struck enough of  a fancy to start a friendship.

We both love food and cooking and so she arrives Friday night with two of the most gorgeous filets of fish from FISH, our local sustainable fish market (they sell their own catch). A pink filet of trout and a white filet of sturgeon. Stunning! I wish you were here.

With directions of how to grill each fish, Angela’s on bbq duty while I slice sweet potatoes and radicchio and concoct some fabulous sauces for the dipping.

I’m the BOSS OF SAUCE, as my friend Carin (of Culinary Magic) calls me. I whip up the most delicious caper and dill cream sauce and (drum roll please) a cilantro chipotle pumpkin seed pesto. OH MY, is that good. I put it on everything. Veggies, griddle cakes, quesadillas, fish, veggies, soup, crackers, my list to make it tomorrow since the jar is empty.

Cilantro Chipotle Pumpkin Seed Pesto 

olive oil

pumpkin seeds

ground chipotle chile

cilantro

salt

splash of water

blend it all together and say YUM!

You’re probably wondering what are the exact measurements. You’ll have to wait til tomorrow when I make the next batch and I’ll update you. Til then, I advise you to trust your instincts and experiment, tasting all along the way.

That’s another way that I’m the BOSS OF SAUCE. JUST FU*&$%ING MAKE IT. NOW. TRUST. I’M WATCHING.