Friday, June 24, 2011

Plum Nuts Plum Seeds

Salty, sour, crunchy.

I swear this is dumb easy & delicious.  I learned of this through my cooking teacher Joanne Saltzman of the School of Natural Cookery in Boulder, Co right before the first bunk Bush election.

You can do this in the oven or stove top.

You can use cashews, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, whatevs.

But the star here, the essential here, is Ume Vinegar.

Ume Vinegar is the brine from pickling umeboshi plums.

When I worked at a health food store in Philly years ago I believe the Macrobiotic cultists prayed to the alter of Umeboshi while hissing at the devil nightshade vegetables!  But tobacco was AOK, they all smoked...

Anyway, here's what to do:

Stove top:

Get out a saute pan or cast iron (if you put acidic things in your cast iron, I do)

Turn up the heat med-high & toss in your preferred nut or seed & let them hang out a minute or two, tossing occasionally.  When they start to show a tiny bit of color, or pop, kill the heat & QUICKLY start sprinkling in the ume WHILE tossing the nuts or seeds around to coat.

No need to drench them, who likes soggy nuts?  (How could I resist?)

When all the nuts or seeds appear to be tossed & all the ume has dried up remove from pan.

You'll notice that your nuts or seeds look a lil' purplish & crystally, awesome, perfect.


Toast in oven (375) on sheet pan or oven safe pan, giving one toss during.  When toasty or popping remove from oven & IMMEDIATELY start sprinkling in the ume WHILE tossing the nuts or seeds around to coat.  Then remove from pan when ume is tossed & dried.

I can just eat these as is, I LOVE THEM.  I also put them on salads, on soups, with sushi...

I have a serious love affair with Ume, but you can also follow these directions for making Tamari Almonds or what have you.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011


This cake is so easy to make yet impressive, insanely delicious, wheat free and totally bad for you.
NOTE: this HAS to chill for at LEAST 4 hours!

For batter

12 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar

For sauce

(I didn't make the sauce, I just used a mesh strainer to sprinkle powdered sugar on it, then made whip cream.)

10-oz package frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
1/4 cup sugar

Accompaniment: unsweetened whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9- by 2-inch round cake pan and line bottom with a round of wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.

Make batter:

Melt chocolate and butter in a metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking until smooth.
Cool slightly.
Beat together eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until pale yellow, thick, and a ribbon forms when beaters are lifted, about 4 minutes with a standing mixer or 8 minutes with a handheld. Fold one fourth of egg mixture into chocolate mixture to lighten, then gently fold in remaining egg mixture.
Pour batter into cake pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Put cake pan in a hot water bath and place in middle of oven. Bake 45 minutes (top will be set, but a tester will not come out clean).
Remove cake from water bath and cool completely in pan on a rack. Run a thin knife around edge of cake and chill, covered, at least 4 hours and up to 12.

Make sauce:

Purée raspberries with sugar in a food processor or blender, then force through a fine sieve into a bowl. Chill until ready to serve.

Remove cake from pan:

Put cake pan directly on a burner at very low heat. Move pan around on burner to warm bottom, about 30 seconds, then shake pan to loosen cake. Invert cake onto a rack. Remove wax paper and invert cake onto a serving plate.
Bring cake to room temperature. Serve with sauce and whipped cream.
Don't despair if the cake stubbornly refuses to come out of the pan. You may need to help it along by prying it out gently with the tip of a paring knife.
This cake is better if made a day ahead. Both cake and sauce keep 2 days, covered and chilled.


3 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1/2 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups + 2 Tbsp tepid water

optional: oats, sesame seeds, olive oil on the outside or raisins, walnuts, figs etc.. mixed into the bread (it's fun to experiment!)

Mix all the ingredients in the morning or before bed. This should take about 3 minutes and leave you with a thick, shaggy dough. Cover with a towel or some plastic wrap and leave it in the warmest spot in your kitchen. It should get a 6 to 8-hour rise.

When you come home from work or get up in the morning, put some flour on your hands and flip the bread in the bowl (it's tricky, but possible!) Cover it again and let it sit/proof for about an hour, or however long you have.

Heat the oven to 450°F. Put a Dutch oven (or any oven safe pot with a lid like glass or ceramic)  in the oven to heat it up for 10 minutes. Take it out then drizzle some olive oil in the bottom then put the dough in the pot. You may have to pour it, pry it or just roll it in - the dough is very wet. Don't worry if it looks a mess. Drizzle with olive oil or sesame seeds or oats or nothing at all. Cover the pot with a lid and bake for 30 minutes or until it's sufficiently golden.

Let it rest for 15 min and voila! ho-made bread in your fucking hands.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know Your Vinaigrette

Oh the bajillions of things you can just throw together when you've got a good vinaigrette stocked in your fridge!  It is simple to make & easy to mix & match ingredients once you've got your ratios down.

Here is my basic recipe, in order of appearance:

You'll need a good size bowl, even for a somewhat small amount, & a whisk.

1/2 - 1 shallot minced
 Salt, sea or kosher (more than you think!)
approx 3 TBSP Vinegar
approx 1 TBSP Mustard (dijon is always best, in my opinion)
approx 1 TBSP Honey
atleast 1/2 cp Olive oil
squeeze of lemon
few grinds of Black Pepper

Get that Shallot in the bowl & pretty much coat it in Salt, remember you're adding lots more ingredients.  The Salt, & later the Vin/ Lemon, "cook" the Shallot.  This will actually make it easier on the belly.  Then add your Vinegar & give a stir.  Next incorporate the Mustard & the Honey, get it good & mixed.  Now to emulsify the Olive Oil!  I drizzled that shit in for years!  But honestly, now I just glug it in & give it some good elbow grease.  I'd say go a 1/4 cup at a time & really use that whisk & that surface area in the large-ish bowl.  Seriously, go to town with that whisk, its good for the constitution & it will enable emulsification like a charm.  The result should be pretty viscous.  A squeeze of Lemon will brighten the flavor & who doesn't love Black Pepper?

Some notes to troubleshoot...

Don't be afraid of Salt, it helps balance the Oil, it actually keeps it from tasting oily!  As will the acidic elements, which is why some fresh Lemon always works.  But forreals, if it tastes oily add a bit more Salt.  It will help bring those other flavors up.

A tasty cheat on the emulsification is to add more Mustard.  It will goo it up a bit quicker, but it will make it a Mustard Vinaigrette (which rules as well).  Also, Balsamic Vinegar is the best emulsifying vin for sure.

Once you've got it down start dreaming up combinations & other flavors to add!

Balsamic with Orange Zest   -  Lemony White Wine Vin (lemon zest)                   
Sherry Vin with fresh Thyme - or Sherry Vin & replace the honey with
                                                        Pomegranate Molasses

Also, you can use this Vinaigrette as a base for more complex dressings:

add a TBSP or so of Mayo, plus Garlic, Capers, Lemon Zest, Parm & Anchovies = Caesar!

Puree a Mango add to a  Lime-y vinaigrette with minced jalepeno... & make Fish Tacos!

Halve the Oil & add Tahini, Fresh Parsley & a dash of Tamari = Goddess Dressing!

Not to mention BBQ Sauces...

Simmer a Vinaigrette with some Tomatoes or Tomato Paste, Honey or Brown Sugar = Carolina Blonde!

Same idea with Apricot Jam, maybe some fresh Sage?!

Did someone say Bean Dip?

I think you get the idea...

Yum City.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Delish Soba Noodles w/ Chicken and Fresh Green Beans

So, I'm trying this gluten-free thing for a few weeks to see what happens, I am plagued by allergies of all kinds and skin problems, which supposedly can be helped by changing your diet…I have a list of foods I can never eat, but other than shellfish and nuts, I generally just try to avoid eating too much of everything on that list…anyhow, it's been kind of a stressful drag so far, but it's inspired me to cook…

here's something I made up last night:

1. Steam 1 skinless-boneless organic free range chicken breast (trying to cut back on tofu)…I think it took about 30 minutes, I cut it up into smaller pieces.

2. While you are doing that, boil water. Put a bunch of organic fresh green beans (or whatever kind of vegetable that might work) in the boiling water for about 2-3 minutes and remove.

3. Cook soba noodles. Make sure they are really 100% buckwheat if you are trying to avoid gluten. I keep screwing this part up.

4. Saute part of an onion in an iron skillet until it's translucent. Add garlic to taste. Make some kind of sauce. I used a few Tsp of low-sodium wheat-free tamari and added some sesame oil. Feel free to create kind of sauce you think sounds good, this was just the thing I tried first.

5. By this time your soba noodles are probably done. Add everything to the iron skillet and stir it around until it's covered in sauce. Ok it's time to eat!

You now have a delicious meal! I don't' know what to call it though. Ideas?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Home-made veggie sausages

I am a massive Delia Smith fan and this is just basically copy and pasting her "Cheese and Herb Sausages" recipe, which is one of my all-time favs. I've renamed them in the title because the recipe is super easily adapted to a vegan or meat version or whatever you fancy.

The original recipe goes as follows:

4 oz (110g) mature Cheddar, grated
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mixed herbs
5 oz (150g) fresh breadcrumbs (white or wholemeal)
1 medium onion, peeled and grated
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1 large egg yolk
salt and freshly milled pepper

For coating and frying:
1 oz (25g) breadcrumbs
1 oz (25g) parmesan, grated
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons groundnut or other flavourless oil for cooking

Basically, you mix it all the sausage ingredients together and form sausages out of them. then you dip them in egg white and then in the breadcrumbs and parmesan. fry them at medium heat on all sides.

The trick in this recipe is the fresh breadcrumbs and grated onion. It is therefore important that you make breadcrumbs freshly yourself and that you do grate the onion. they are your base for shaping and taste. The eggs are leave-it or take-it in this recipe and not at all important.

All the other ingredients are replaceable and open to experiment. When I make these for vegans, I replace the cheese with some tofu and marmite. If I'm out of fresh herbs, I use dried ones. I have added grated carrot, mushroom paté or apple.

Delia advises to have them with fruit chutney but I usually have them for dinner with a lentil salad or something alike. I make them for kids parties a lot, too, as they are cheap as chips and easy to make in large quanities.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Team Natalie!

Hi punk recipe swappers,
I'm helping out the radical natalie cox as she fights an aggressive form of cancer called angiosarcoma. she's currently undergoing treatment at a natural oncology center in del mar, california. I've put together a quickie blog page where you can donate directly to her paypal account to help cover the costs of treatment, travel, and medications so she can focus on her family and health. Please go to, and also please re-post wherever you can!
sarah u.