Crepes and Castaneda

A little food for thought…

“Impeccability begins with a single act that has to be deliberate, precise, and sustained. If that act is repeated long enough, one acquires a sense of unbendable intent, which can be applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes his full potential”.
-Carlos Castaneda

What if we were to start the journey by simply peeling the carrots, washing the dishes or wiping off the table with our full attention and care?  Every day I hear someone say that they don’t have time to prepare wholesome food for themselves, yet it’s a fact that we need nutrients from real food to live. If we neglect ourselves in this way, is the opposite of the above quote also true? When we repeatedly neglect our basic need for sustenance are we blocking the road to our full potential? Something to chew on anyway.

OK back to the food box recipe for the week. I slacked off last week, as I was busy with my colleagues at Conscious Catering preparing three meals a day for fifty people over six days. What a blast and what an opportunity to peel carrots and wash the dishes!

Winter Root Crepes
with Lemon Tarragon & Coconut Cream
Yields 4-5 servings

The Crepes:
Prepare in advance and freeze or refrigerate, or make fresh.

Follow this link ( http://consciouscatering.ca/nama-bread/ ) to find out how to make gluten and flour free fermented buckwheat batter. Then simply dilute the batter by mixing 2.25 cup of batter with ¾ cup of water.  (When I’m making my weekly batch of buckwheat bread I just make a little extra for pancakes or crepes).

It’s important to have a nice big non-sticking (preferably cast iron) pan. Heat it to medium and oil it with coconut oil, being careful not to let it burn. Poor the batter over the pan very thinly. When it’s cooked on one side flip it with a large thin metal spatula without breaking the crêpe apart. I find it usually takes one to practice getting the heat and technique right.

The filling:
Peel and slice the following into rounds or sticks of the same thickness:

  • 3 carrots peeled
  • 1 white sweet potato (they taste like plantains, yuuumm)
  • 1 red sweet potato
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 1tsp. coconut oil
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2.5 cups mushrooms roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp dry French tarragon
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes (these are totally optional. I only added them because they were in the food box. They are not in season but Ted got them from a heated greenhouse near his farm)
  • 1 pkg. coconut cream
  • ½ tsp ground wild pepper
  • ½ lg clove garlic minced
  • ¾  cup water

I recently learned how to roast vegetable in such a way that they become sweet and rich yet moist. I use very little oil and It’s much faster then before. Amazing!

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. Brown both sides of all the root vegetables in a frying pan on medium heat, without cooking them through.
  3. Put the vegetables in a large oiled roasting pan with enough space to spread out thinly. Sprinkle with the sea salt.
  4. Add 1 cup of water to the pan and cover with tin foil. Bake in the oven till the vegetables are cooked through (about 15-20min).
  5. While the vegetables are roasting, sauté the onions, mushrooms and tarragon. Add the tomatoes at the end, cook them lightly and set aside.
  6. Break up the coconut cream and melt in a saucepan. Whisk in the water, garlic and pepper. Set aside on low heat.
  7. When the vegetables are cooked strain them from any remaining water and toss together with the mushrooms.  Roll them up in a crêpe and drizzle with the cream. Serve with extra cream on the side
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Strictly Roots

Shiitake, burdock root, spinach, buckwheat…this recipe reminds me to dig deep.
Worlds colliding, crumbling and recreating, the humble burdock root offers potent purity to threadbare hearts, bursting at the seams.

Click here for the theme song of the week. http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=zyK8mcuUIGI&feature=endscreen

Ted asked me specifically to work with the burdock root this week because he had so much extra. I’ve been juicing burdock root daily for the last month and a half, but I hadn’t done much with it otherwise. It’s often used medicinally as a blood purifier and fortifier as well as in many Asian dishes. Looking around I found many simple, good recipes so I suggest just looking what others have written, this was my favorite. I did come up with a tapenade (which seems to be my thing lately with all kinds of root vegetables) and then today, was inspired by the darling of brunch menus everywhere, Eggs Benedict.

Burdock Benedict with Shiitake

Burdock Root Tapenade
These are the basic ingredients and the method. The proportions are completely up to your personal taste.

1-3 Burdock roots peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
1-2 cloves garlic minced
2-4 tbsp. olive oil
Sea salt to taste
Lemon juice to taste

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. In a large frying pan sauté the  burdock root on medium heat until they are slightly browned.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the pan, and cover with a lid or tin foil.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and bake until they are very soft (about 25-45min).
  5. Put the burdock root in a food processor and process until pasty.  Add the remaining ingredients until the mixture is creamy, smooth and seasoned to your taste. You may need to stop the food processor occasionally and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula.
  6. You can eat it immediately or store it in the fridge for a firmer more butter like texture.  This can be made ahead of time and then used for many wonderful creations such as eggs benedict.

Assemble the Eggs Benedict as follows:

  1. One slice of buckwheat toast or other tasty gluten-free bun, bread, waffle or pancake.
  2. Spread a thick layer of burdock tapenade on the toast and then pile on the wilted spinach.
  3. Top with a poached egg and a generous dollop of burdock tapenade.
  4. Serve with the shiitake mushrooms on the side.

What’s Your Source?

The jonagold apples that Ted sent out this week are remarkably sweet, crunchy and juicy. They combine well with the earthy mild spice of the radishes.  The radishes are beautiful! Lime green inside, they almost resemble a kiwi when sliced into rounds.  We are able to eat so well in this climate, at this time of year, because of farmers like Ted who are passionate about growing a wide variety of vegetables. Also, they have engineered storage solutions for fruit and vegetables so we can just show up in March and have an incredible selection at our disposal. I’d love to live in a world where farmers were compensated generously for all they contribute to our lives, rather than living hand to mouth and acquiring enormous debt to keep their farms running.  If we were an intelligent society we may have the self-interest to realize that our well-being lies in the hands of our farmers. My hope is that as you start to slow down and prepare more delicious food for yourself and your loved ones, you will naturally want more connection to the source of your sustenance.  Maybe one day you will come to grow your own food too, as 95% of our population did only 100 years ago.

Carrot Butter
Sweet, creamy, late winter deliciousness

8 carrots chopped into rounds (1 bag from Ted’s food box)
1 tbsp coconut oil for cooking
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp flavorful (organic extra virgin) coconut oil
1 tbsp lime juice
1tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°
  2. In a large frying pan sauté the carrots on medium heat until they are slightly browned.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the pan, and cover with a lid or tin foil.
  4. Put the pan in the oven and bake until the carrots are very soft (about 25 min).  Don’t add more liquid if it all evaporates, this will allow the carrots to caramelize.
  5. Put the carrots in a food processor with the remaining ingredients and process until creamy and smooth. You may need to stop the food processor occasionally and scrape the sides with a rubber spatula.
  6. You can eat it immediately or store it in the fridge for a firmer more butter like texture.

Click here to find out how my friends at Conscious Catering are making amazing gluten-free buckwheat bread.

Jonagold and Tae Baek Radish Marinade on Spinach

2 cups each of chopped, sliced or julienned jonagold apples and tae baek radish.

Marinade:
1tbsp each of olive oil, lime juice and honey
¼ tsp sea salt
Several handfuls of clean dry spinach

  1. Cover the apples and radish in the marinade and let sit for fifteen minutes or so.
  2. When you’re ready to serve, toss the marinade with the spinach or simply top a bed of spinach with a pile of the radish and apple mixture.

Come Home

No recipe today. I’m getting a flu . I hope this will do.

When I wonder where love is I remember this.

Love is in the way I soak the oat groats and simmer them slow, sprinkled in sea salt and fresh cinnamon, it shines from my eyes when I listen. Love is on the raindrops on the unfurled lily, it’s in the rose buds I threaded and hung one by one. It’s in the time I take to warm my face in the afternoon sun, it’s in every meal I make, every bath I take and in every morning I wake.

Love seeps in through the back garden gate; sticky with residue, it leaves footprints from the honey pot, and floats to the top of my tea cup. It’s in the soft rasp of my throat; it resonates clear and sublime. It’s in the careful folds of the linens; it billows in the wind, tethered to the clothesline. Love is buried deep in the soil and shoots up towards the sky through spikes of lavender and garlic scapes, it oozes from tree bark, and gently washes over polished stones. Love is in the soap brush and my dirt covered hands, it’s in my smile when children are near. It’s in my tears when the sun alights through rain and I cannot contain the weight of such beauty. Love is in the fresh summer thundershower and where the crows congregate in the golden hour.

Love is in my heart when I turn away from old ways that continue to bruise me, it’s in my letters and when I reach out to my community. Love lies under the disappointment of loss, because there is so much appreciation for the lessons you taught me. Love is there when we’re turned on and tangled and when we’re saying good-bye.

Love is in every good-bye for it is my true desire that we both expand larger and stronger with more to give ourselves and this world, that we find the treasures we came here to unearth, that we find wisdom and clarity, that we know our true worth. Love is in the letting go, in wanting the very best for you, wanting you to be beautiful and free, growing upwards, ever expanding your capacity.

Love is in the paradox of our desire to find it and share it; while it quietly sits in waiting, always there, all along, completely unfettered as we come and go, calmly just sitting there, as if by a fire waiting for us to come home.

 

Sweet & Still

With nothing to cling to I rest in the community of my kitchen table.
Surrendering to the storm, I was dishes with silence.
Emptied of all understanding my only knowing is this;
Food is the sum of the earth’s urge to continually begin anew, fused with our compulsion to cultivate and carve into beautiful forms, morsels that will never be consumed again.
Over and over, we are nourished by these offerings, like prayers that lift into the air, molding love into momentary manifestations of all that is sacred and fleeting.
As long as I keep loving there will always be communion around my kitchen table, and every night dirty dishes will fill the sink.

Sweet Potato & Warm Spinach Salad
with fennel, chilli and rosemary
Yields 4 servings

2 medium sweet potatoes cut in half lengthwise
½ cup water
4 handfuls (or one bag from the CSA box) of clean spinach torn into pieces
1 apple finely diced

Dressing:
1 medium-large onion sliced into half moons
2 heaping tablespoons of minced garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp dry rosemary
2 tsp fennel seeds
¼ tsp chili flakes
½ tsp sea salt
3 tbsp balsamic style apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 400°.
  • Put the sweet potatoes in a baking dish facing down. Add the water and cover with a lid or foil. Bake for ½ hour or until tender.
  • In the meantime prepare the spinach and set it aside in a mixing bowl
  • In a large pan on low heat add 2 tbsp of olive oil, onions, garlic, spices and sea salt. Caramelize until the onions are soft, then add the apple cider vinegar and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the maple syrup and let simmer for another few minutes. Then add the olive oil and turn off the heat.
  • Drizzle the hot dressing over top of the spinach. Gently toss together as the spinach wilts.
  • Make a small trough in the cooked sweet potato, fill it with the spinach and top with chopped apples.
  • Serve as an appetizer or a side dish.

Walk In Beauty

“Only a person who has grasped the art of cooking, washing dishes, sweeping and chopping wood, someone who is able to laugh at the world’s weapons of money, fame, and power, can hope to descend the mountain as a hero. A hero like that will traverse the waves of success and failure without rising or sinking. In fact few people will recognize them as a hero at all. “
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Simple Salad

Cooked beets chopped into bite size chunks or match sticks
(The easiest way to prepare beets is to put them in a pot of boiling water. When they are cooked peel the skins off with your fingers or the edge of a spoon and rinse them with cold water).
Carrots grated or cut into match sticks
Apples chopped into bite sized chunks or match sticks
Baby field greens

Dressing:
This is a foolproof way to make a tasty dressing with what ever you have.

1 part oil (olive, sesame, sunflower, hemp, flax, pumpkin, avocado etc. or a mixture of various kinds)
1 part acidic (apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, ferment juice, lime, lemon or a mixture)
.5-1 part sweet depending on taste (honey, maple syrup, date paste, agave syrup, apricot purée or a mixture)

Combine everything in a blender, whisk in a bowl or shake in a jar.

The following are some optional seasonings that can be added to the basic recipe:

  • Blueberries & mint
  • Curry (use maple syrup as the sweetener)
  • Ginger & cilantro
  • Red or green Thai curry paste (use a little sesame oil in the oil part)
  • Orange juice and zest with rose-water (use honey as the sweetener)
  • Chopped basil (use some balsamic vinegar as the acidic part)
  • Caramelize onions (reduce balsamic vinegar and maple syrup while caramelizing onions)
  • Cranberries and ginger
  • Raspberries and lemon balm

Open Up Your Heart And Let the Sun Shine In

Spring is in the air, but not quite here. The pavement heaves and sighs impatiently, waiting for April showers to wash away the grey and grit. Bare branches stir with restless anticipation for little buds to form and delicate leaves to unfurl. Longer days radiate on my skin, dreams are more vivid, starlings flutter and chat in the garden, sun streams over my bed, and I taste a hint of honey on the breeze.

The food box is still stocked with stodgy winter vegetables and it will be quite some time before succulent strawberry juices and bitter dandelions tickle my tongue.  This stew captures all the cozy goodness of being tucked away for winter while reminding us of the  sweetness of the summer to come.

North African Inspired Winter Vegetable Stew
Yields 6L. Requires a 7L crock-pot. Cut recipe in half for a regular sized crock pot.

4 tbsp coconut oil
4 large onions chopped
2 cups of dry chickpeas
1½ cups leeks finely chopped
2- 796ml cans of organic tomatoes
1- 170g. package of creamed coconut
1 L. chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup organic unsulphered dry apricots
1 cup organic unsulphured raisins

The following vegetables washed and chopped into bite sized pieces:
2 cups potatoes
2 cups carrots
4 cups squash
5 cups sweet potatoes (white and red)

Spices:
3 tbsp cumin seeds toasted and ground
1 tbsp coriander seeds toasted and ground
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground dry chipotle peppers
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp ginger powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cinnamon

  1. Soak the chickpeas for 6-12 hours. Rinse well and then boil. When cooked (soft yet firm) strain all cooking water away and rinse well in a colander. This method helps with digestion and eliminating gas.
  2. Put the onions, coconut oil and spices in a crock-pot on high heat.
  3. Wash and chop all the vegetables, and dry fruit. Add them to the pot with the broth. Cover and cook on high heat for about 4-5 hours.
  4. When the vegetables are cooked add the tomatoes and chickpeas.
  5. Chop up the creamed coconut in a glass measuring cup. Add boiling water until you reach 1.5 cups. Let sit until the coconut begins to soften. Stir and squish with a fork until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Add to the pot and stir well.
  6. Add more tomatoes, broth or water for desired consistency.
  7. Eat right away and store some in mason jars for lazy days.