Monthly Archives: July 2014

Gluten Free Pizza Option

DSC_0017Pattypan Squash Pizza
Slice pattypan squash to 1/4 inch thick rounds. Fry in lightly olive oiled pan on both sides over medium heat till some areas begin to get golden. Transfer to a baking sheet/pan. Top as you wish. I used the same as the regular focaccia style pizza I was making; marinated sun dried tomatoes, onion and feta cheese. When the pizza comes out of the oven bake the pattypan squash pizza for 5-10 minutes just to heat.

Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes

DSC_0007Last year we had so many tomatoes I was able to experiment with various methods of preserving. One of them being making sun dried tomatoes. This season is very slow- it is nearly August and I only have a few tomatoes that are just starting to blush. Xav loves pizza with fresh tomatoes but why use inferior tomatoes when I have some sun dried tomatoes from last year?
DSC_0001 DSC_0002 DSC_0004

3/4 cup sliced sun dried tomatoes
3 cloves garlic; crushed
1/2 Tablespoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper

First reconstitute sun dried tomatoes: slice sundried tomatoes into strips, place in a heat resistant bowl, pour boiling water to 1 inch over the tomato tops and cover for ½-1 hour. Strain the liquid through a sieve (this can be reserved for making soup or simmering a legume or even rice). Return tomatoes to the bowl, add crushed garlic, dried basil, sea salt, fresh ground black pepper and mix. Pour into a glass jar add extra virgin olive oil to just cover the tomato mixture. Store in the refrigerator but remove prior to using as olive oil solidifies in the cold.

No Cook Marinara Sauce (A.K.A. Lazy Marinara)

This is a tasty, quick and efficient recipe I have been making for years. It is a great shortcut when  wanting a homemade meal but not having time to make sauce from scratch. By the time the dough for pizza has risen, the pasta boiled or the first round of zucchini/eggplant fried the sauce is ready. Another tip, while waiting for pasta to boil, pizza to bake or zucchini/eggplant parmesan to cook- make a fresh salad to round off a healthy meal.
DSC_00061 box (26.46 oz/750g) Pomi brand tomato sauce *if using another brand of canned tomato check the salt content; Pomi has none
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1Tablespoon dried basil
1 Tablespoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1-4 cloves garlic; crushed (modify to your family’s taste- we go heavy as we love garlic)
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (if you are making zucchini or eggplant parmesan omit the oil as the vegetables soaks up so much when frying)

DSC_0004 DSC_0005
Mix all ingredients together and continue preparing the rest of your meal. I usually mix right in the box; just peal the side tabs up and cut straight across.

Drying Lemon Rind

Too often I press a lemon and compost the skin when what I should do is dry and save the rind to be used for cooking and making teas. This is especially true when the lemons are sent from my father’s grove so I know they are all natural. I found the following technique to be efficient and easy.
DSC_0002Using a potato peeler I peel the rind off of the pith (the white spongy part of the skin under the yellow), place on a paper towel, cover with a paper towel and allow to dry. Without the citrus inside the lemon it is flimsy and tough to peel so place a couple fingers on the interior to support the skin when peeling. It is a bit messy but this way juice and rind can be used.
DSC_0003Here you can see there are 3 days worth of rind each at different stages of drying. Once dry the rind is stored in a jar away from light in a spice or tea cabinet.

Vegan Gluten Free Tex-Mex Tortillas

DSC_0010Vegan Gluten Free Tortillas
1 cup besan (chick pea flour)
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups warm water

In a small mixing bowl combine besan and salt. Add half of the water and mix well with a whisk until the mixture is creamy and there are no lumps. Add the remaining water and let rest for at least 20 minutes. Preheat a medium sized heavy frying pan (I like cast iron- nature’s non-stick) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat the pan, pour the batter into the pan to cover about 1/2 of the bottom then twirl the pan to coat the bottom with the batter. When the batter is set on top it should be golden on the bottom and ready to flip to cook to the other side. Stack cooked tortillas/wraps on a plate. Repeat until all of the batter has been prepared.

DSC_0007Vegan Gluten Free Tex-Mex Filling/Salad
2 cups cooked pinto beans (I soaked 1 1/4 cup dry beans over night, rinsed and cooked till soft but canned is fine)
2 poona kheera cucumbers; diced
1 tomato; diced
1 cup cilantro; finely chopped
1/2 red onion; finely chopped
1-2 cloves garlic; crushed
1/2 lime; juiced
2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
pinch fresh ground black pepper
optional red pepper flakes

Combine all ingredients and chill till ready to serve. This can be made a day in advance or the morning of.

DSC_0008Any other favorite toppings can be added. I made an olive salad and chopped up an avocado for today’s meal and we had farm fresh corn on the side.

Optional Shredded Cheddar Cheese for a Vegetarian Wrap

Collecting Seeds for Next Season

DSC_0001Some of the snap peas got away from me and then were too “far gone” to harvest. So the decision was made to let them mature and dry completely so that seeds could be collected for next year’s planting. This is how our fore-parents farmed. As long as your plants are organic, heirloom and/or GMO free the seeds of any plant can be harvested when the fruit or vegetable is fully ripe. Take care not to save seeds from any plant, fruit or vegetable that looks diseased. DSC_0005
After collecting the seeds store them in a labeled (type of seed and year harvested) paper envelope or bag. Store in a dry area and away from frost over the winter months.DSC_0006

Vegan and Gluten Free One-Bowl Meal

DSC_00021 cup brown rice; soaked, rinsed and cooked *
1 cup whole urad (black matpe beans); soaked rinsed and cooked till tender **

2-4 cloves garlic; crushed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pinch fresh ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

6 cups fresh vegetables; cut to bite-sized pieces
I used what I purchased at the farmers market yesterday; pattypan squash, poona kheera cucumber, tomato and 1/2 red onion
2 Tablespoons leaves of fresh lemon basil (or 2 Tablespoons fresh basil and 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest)

DSC_0001Combine cooked rice and urad with garlic, salt, pepper, vinegar and olive oil. Place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill and marinade. Combine all ingredients, mixing till vegetables and basil are well distributed.

*To cook brown rice: soak brown rice for at least 1 hour in water, drain, rinse, drain and combine with 1 1/2 cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer with lid on till all water is absorbed- 20 minutes.

**To cook whole urad: soak urad for at least 6 hours in water, drain, rinse, drain and combine with 4  cups water in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer with lid on till tender- 30-40 minutes.