Fennel Raisin Salad

Yep. That’s it. No witty title needed for all those SEO bots, I now have a social network to propel me into internet fame….

Right.

So, we got fennel in CSA this week, and I’m tired of using it in that random Oprah recipe. Guess what I did? I chopped it up, mixed it in with some random stuff I had in the pantry, and got this:

image

How do you like my thinly veiled fennel propaganda shot?

That’s ok, I don’t like YOU either.

#nottakingthistoopersonally
#orseriously

Anyway, here’s the recipe, neat.

Ingredients

Fennel, 3 small whole bulbs
Pine nuts, 3 tablespoons
Golden raisins, 3 tablespoons
Salt, to taste
A dash of pepper
Olive oil, to taste
Wine vinegar, to taste.

Procedure

1. Wash the fennel and cut into “manageable pieces”. And I mean all of it. Including the stalks and fronds. If you don’t like your salad as “hairy”, leave some of them out.  What’s a manageable=”what fits in the food processor”

2. Pulse in your food processor until it breaks up into fine chunks.  Think, finely diced.

3. Add Pine Nuts and raisins, toss.

4. Begin adding salt, olive oil, and wine vinegar to taste.

 

Yep, seriously. It’s that easy. It’s a far cry from my gluten free pie crust days, but you know.. baby steps. Until next CSA, or next century..

 

-D.

 

Yeaaaah…. so I checked out.

For a week, then a few weeks… then a whole season, or two. This is starting to sound like an alt-pop song from the late 90′s. I renewed my domain some weeks ago in a half-haze wondering whether I would even write another entry again. Hopefully, I will.

In the meantime, here ARE some things I’ve done besides sit around and calculatedly craft my online persona:

Gone to Martha’s Vinyard, twice.
Learned how to catch squid, and ate them!
Tried Fresh Direct, loved it, but hated the price..
Made some great decisions
Made some bad decisions
Bought ceiling medallions!
Went to Gettysburg
Got a promotion
Installed water filters
Redecorated my office
Got on Facebook!
Had a bunch of cool people stay at my place
Tried LOTS of new foods
Rekindled my love for beer (List pending!)

So. What am I doing with this blog? Well the good news is that I know I don’t know. The bad news is…

:)

At any rate, CSA has started up, so I will soon have a plethora of strange produce to experiment with. Hopefully that will motivate me to begin documenting my culinary adventures, yet again. Perhaps I should start publishing my beer notes. I also have an inordinate amount of carrots sitting in my refrigerator. Perhaps an Indian carrot pudding is in my future?

Or, you… single, lone reader out there in the ether, do you have any requests?

Creamy Cucumber Bites

Well hello there. Told you I’d be back. I don’t have much time to talk, so let’s cut to the chase.  Or, cut the cheese! ::groan:: Now that we’ve fulfilled our corny joke quota for the post- behold! My latest creation.

Yes, seriously, that’s it.  Here’s the rundown!

Gluten Free: Check
Candida Friendly: Only if you can eat Goat Cheese, so, no?
SCD: No
Lacto/Ovo Vegetarian: Check
Vegan: No, unless you use soy cheese

Ingredients

  • 5-6 Large Cucumbers
  • 12 Oz Goat Cheese. Vegan Hack: Use a vegan cheese!
  • 1 Tbspn Dill, Chopped, to taste
  • 1 Medium Onion, finely grated, with juice
  • 1 bottle Capers
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Prepping the Cheese

Prepping the cucumbers

….and now the easy part: Assembly.

 

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This is pretty much up to you, but I assembled these as follows:

1. Daub a little bit of the cheese mixture onto a decorated cucumber half

2. Top with a few “droplets” of grated onion.

3. Garnish with a caper.

VOILA! I guarantee you- they will love it.

So I’ve kinda lost steam..

Going on a three week long tour of Archeological sites related to the missionary tours of Apostle Paul (plus a bunch of other irrelevant, yet extremely pleasurable destinations) will do that to you. So, in lieu of a recipe, I present:

Nothing.

 Well,  there is the assurance that I didn’t die during a protest in Turkey or Greece. AND, the food was amazing. Seriously. Maybe we have a traditional greek meal in our future?

 Don’t you worry! I’ll be up and cooking like a fiend before you know it. 

Cheers,

Daphne

 

Autumnal Cookies for the Autoimmune Folk.

Bad Food Blog Photography

Gratuitous photo of squash to disguise my lack of a “money” shot

Or, in more SEO friendly terms: Pumpkin Spice Cookies- SCD, Nut Free Gluten Free, Candida, and Hackable Vegan!

Yeah, so, I’ve been out of town. First, to Cape May, and most recently, to stay with good friends in Martha’s Vinyard. I’d love to regale you with stories of my exploits, but instead I’m going to get back on the horse and give you all a recipe. Oh, and I’m going to remind you that food bloggers are mortals too. Onward, my first ever self-deprecating post!

So, this came about in a bout of desperation about two three four weeks ago. We were in Cape May, land of ice cream and fudge, with not an SCD or gluten-free friendly place in sight, except for that really tiny organic market which just happened to be out of reach (and budget. What was it, $10.00 for nutmeg? I mean, I love you and all, but screw you). Lucky for us, we had rented an apartment at the lovely John Wesley Inn, which was equipped with a full kitchen. We also had a random acorn squash. Here’s what happened.

Now, I later reproduced this recipe with pumpkin/butternut squash and it was just as good. And then, when I decided to photograph it, I tried to bake it in these lovely little decorative cake molds.

SCD Bake Fail

Tasty, but disgusting.

It was disasterous. No, seriously. I didn’t grease the pans properly, and the batter was too sticky, and I cooked it too long, and it all burned and went to hell. So, don’t do that. But lucky for you, I have emerged a wiser woman, just in time to pass my profound and arcane knowledge somewhere toward your general direction.

Hmmm… let’s see. What else? You can use this proportion (key word, PROPORTION) of spices to flavor any generic “autumnal” dessert, but it works particularly well with squashes and pumpkins. This batter makes an amazing pumpkin pie, but it can also be spooned onto a cookie sheet to make really delicious, gooey cookies.

Oh, and if you replace the eggs with flax-seeds, and the butter with coconut oil, and the honey with your sweetener of choice, it’s Vegan too! Then again, pretty much anything is vegan if you do all that.. anyway.

Time for the Rundown:

  • SCD: Check
  • Candida Diet Friendly: Check
  • Kid Friendly: Yes!
  • Gluten Free: Check
  • Nut Free: Yes
  • Dairy: If butter is tolerated, then this is lactose free.
  • Vegan: Yes, with some hacks
  • Low Fat: Sort of

We Begin.

Ingredients

  • 2 Acorn Squash
  • 3/4Cup + 2 Tbspns of Butter (Or 3/4 Cup+ 2TBs of Coconut Oil)
  • 2.5 Teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 3 Cloves, Grated
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 2.5 Teaspoons Vanilla
  • 4 Eggs (Or a suitable ratio of flax seed. For no-bake, you can use gelatin too)
  • 1/2-3/4 Cup Coconut Flour, depending on how wet the squash is.
  • Honey, to taste. I added a little over a half cup. For vegans: Brown Sugar, Sugar, Agave, or the sweetener of your choice.
  • An oven, preheated to 350 degrees

Prepping the Squash

Making the Batter and Cakes

 

And now, the moment of truth!

 

Eat, and thank me in your prayers for having saved you 13 hours of scrubbing charred squash fragments out of tiny crevices with a toothbrush.

#hatemylife

OH! By the way, I’m handing out samples of my food this Thursday at Sunnyside CSA. Feel free to drop by and visit!

I’m not dead! I’m not dead! But my phone was…

Biglaw's Biggest Feeder Schools

My Latest Work!

First, I was on vacation. Then I was busy. Then, I was on vacation again. (Hello Greenes! I Hope you are reading.) Then, my phone wouldn’t connect to my PC, so I couldn’t upload pictures without investing 3 hours e-mailing them to myself individually.

So I worked on another Infographic for the lovely folks over at abovethelaw.com. Go on over there and give them some advertising dollars, on me!  :)  By the way, now that my phone/camera situation is sorted, standby for more recipes. There should be one coming up REAL soon.  In fact, I already have the recipe. And the photos.

OH! And in other news, in case you are interested, in two weeks I’ll be doing a cooking demonstration/sampling at Sunnyside CSA.  So, all of you who are just dying to meet me in person and slit my throat get my autograph, this is your chance!

Prison Food by Zagat, while you wait for your famine food…

For those of you who have ever wondered about the complex evolution of prison food through the ages, those dastardly folks at Zagat have done it again.  Now, many of you may have discerned from my last post that I love nails, despite the fact that they are not edible…

[OK,  I know, that you know I only have- like- one reader, which makes that sentence all the even more pathetic. #Ipaintmynailswhilecryingalone  #surroundedbycats]

..but, alas for you fashion-forward folk, I also love urban ruins- no, seriously, I do- and I don’t mean the kind that appear in some people’s mirrors on a regular basis. Some years ago I had the opportunity to visit Eastern State Penitentiary, in Philly.   If you are interested in the crumbling facility upon which the modern prison system is based, and where Al Capone spent some time, take a look at this awsome photo gallery.

If you aren’t, then at least finish my post.

Come on, it’s like 4 sentences.

Good, glad I still have you. Imagine my glee and subsequent disappointment upon discovering that Eastern State Penitentiary held a prison food tasting event this past MAY.  It could have been a perfect marriage of two things I love : food plus urban ruins; plus the history of food in an urban ruin.  If only I had a triple rainbow illustration.  Anyway, lucky for me Zagat was onsite to sample the fare report their findings and give a brief tour of the facility.  Have a look!
PS- According to an entire subset of the internet, nails actually are edible. Gross? You all can find that one all by yourselves.

Procrastinating… WITH ART!

Nail Art Template Sketch Pad

OH MY GOD. She’s ALIVE! Can we eat this?

Yes, I’m alive… and no, not quite.

The current work-in-progress at KM is one in a series of “famine food” tutorials designed to come in handy during those times that give us all an opportunity to demonstrate how irresponsible with money perseverant we are under financial pressure.*

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get tables to work properly in WordPress. SO, until I figure that out, I’ve temporarily turned my attentions to my other love- nail art.

IGNORANT SEXIST #1: She paints her nails?! Man, I thought chicks like her only scratched their armpits and flossed their teeth with chainsaw blades…

Pardon my reflexive hiss in said audience member’s direction. Unlike Chuck Norris/Paul Bunyan/Brawny American Figure of your choosing, I don’t floss my teeth with chainsaw blades. Nor do I wear flannel.  I may have my “ungirly” moments, but I also really like to paint my nails. Really.  Nail polish is right up there with insects and snails and bizarre ephemera from lost ages/worlds :-)

And… can you tell I have a chip on my shoulder today?  Maybe I do, or maybe I am just producing facetious dialogue for your entertainment in order to create the illusion of substance. (Cause really, guys, I’ve got nothing this week)

In other words, I created some dinky nail-art related infographic thing and I intend to use my food blog to pimp it out. In the process I also violated all those unwritten rules about content and traffic and interest and readership and whatever.  Sue me! But do make sure to paint your nails, first…and use my template to come up with a design!

Talk soon…

* This comment was intended in jest. For those of you actually experiencing financial troubles, my deepest sympathy to you. Hopefully the upcoming recipes will help you feed yourself/your family while saving a few dollars.

Stuffed Grape Leaves from Scratch: Greek, but Vegan

Kettle Meddler Vegan Stuffed Grape Leaves

Holy Grail music, optional…

Oh!  She’s making those Greek things… the rice things!  So exotic… what are they wrapped in, green phyllo?  How do they create all the little veins? I can’t wait to have some with my Oy0kos yogurt! Can you also make Spanakopara? I love Spanakopora!  I mean what better way to usher in summer than with a fresh plate of  dolm… dolmak…dolmadres!  

Whaaaa?  You better back that thing up, right now. PLZ.

Dolmades.

Say it for me slowly: DOLE- MAH- thehs.  Or, just dolmadakia.  But I’m not that ambitious so you might have to figure out how to say that yourself.  :)

Ok, so I know I promised this like, three weeks ago, but I’ve been procrastinating.

Why? Well, sometimes life is crazy. And sometimes I’m just too distracted.  Hey, you ever wonder when socks were invented?

On a more serious note, today we’re exploring a  dish with a complex history that no one country can really lay claim to having invented, though I’m sure this is up for debate among those with stronger national affiliations than I.  And unlike most  “old-skool” foods,  it happens to be  both vegan and gluten free without any modifications.  Bring it to a Mediterranean themed party and your friends will love you!

A word of caution: don’t tell Yia Yia you are vegan, she might try to medicate you, or excorcise the demones with garlic cloves and pennies.

Now, as with many traditional foods, preparing dolmadakia isn’t for the faint-hearted or in-a-hurry.  Actually it takes all day.  But I guarantee you that once you’ve made these yourself, you will have a hard time eating them out of a can without gagging.  (Zing! Sorry Krinos and Zanae. You know I love you, but I can’t be with you like this anymore…)

ANYWAY.  The first item we need to secure are the grape leaves.  In fact, today I’m feeling so magnanimous that I am not only going to show the way to stuffed grape leaves, but I am also going to show you how to choose and prepare the leaves yourself.  Double Rainbow!

GRAPE LEAF JOY

Can you feel the power?

BUT… BUT… KM… HOW DO WE CHOOSE THEM?! I MEAN… what… do we just go up to the vine and TAKE THEM?

Yes, with a few caveats.

I’m sure if you ASK the vine owner if he will allow you to pluck a few leaves off his vine, the viniculture gods won’t punish you.   Trouble is,  fresh grape leaves are extremely hard to find if you don’t live near a vinyard or Astoria,  where there’s a grape vine or three on every block due to smuggling saplings on a transatlantic flight in shoes  the very enterprising work  of several Greek/Italian immigrants all those decades ago.  (To be fair, all 2 of you reading probably live within blocks of me, so you might not have much trouble at all.)

Before you attempt to use the anti-elitist rant from my first post against me, hear me out.   The flavor and texture freshly plucked grape leaves makes a big difference in this recipe. Fresh, individually selected leaves are not  in the least bit comparable to something that has, for the last several months, been slowly decom- pardon, brining  in a glass jarcophagus deep in the bowels of Publix.  And so, if I can avoid using preserved leaves, I do.

But, dear reader, fear not,  for I am a reasonable snob. Preserved grape leaves can be purchased here, and here.

[Reader beware- I can't vouch for how "clean" these products are as far as chemicals are concerned]

If you are feeling very ambitious, you can also learn how to preserve them yourself, here.

Anyway, don’t worry too much about this. I may be posturing somewhat, but your  jarred grape leaves will turn out just fine, I promise.  Almost no one you know has ever eaten these fresh to begin with, so they won’t even  know the difference. All better? Good.

We Begin.

Ingredients and Procedure

  • 2 Cups of long grain white rice
  • 50-75 grape leaves
  • 1 Cup of Parsley (or just, equal parts with Dill)
  • 1 Cup of  Dill (or just, equal parts with Parsley)
  • 1/2 cup Mint
  • 1/2 cup of Olive Oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 very large yellow onion
  • A handful or two of chopped scallion, to taste.
  • 4-5 Lemons
  • An entire day. Yes, I am serious.

Picking the Leaves

So, you probably want to pluck the leaves in late spring, let’s say May-June. This is when there are still new leaves on the vine.  Here’s what you are looking for:

  • Unblemished and untorn leaves,  6″-7″ in diameter, with small-medium veins. Don’t worry if they are a bit smaller or larger than this, but if they are too much larger they might be stringy. Alternately, if they are too small they will disintegrate in the pot.  Don’t go measuring leaves on me, now.  Just look at what’s “mid-size” on your individual vine and go from there.
  • Medium thickness- about the thickness of a few sheets of paper.
  • The surface should be with supple and  “waxy”.  Avoid using leaves that are already really “hairy”.
  • Avoid mildewed or misshapen leaves.
  • Avoid any leaves that contain bird feces.  Stop gagging!  Just keeping it real. Do you think jarred grape leaves come from a mythical realm devoid of  wildlife? No, Waldbaums doesn’t count.  Go back to your self-imposed exile from the harsh winds (or falling projectiles) of avian waste, my friend.
  • Smiles everyone! Make sure you also grab 15-20  leaves that are less than “perfect”.  These will be used to line the bottom of the pot and between layers.

Capiche?  Don’t worry,  I have pictures.

Preparing the Leaves

Grape leaves are kinda dirty and have stems.  They’re also bitter and stringy.  But dolmadakia don’t have pointy stringy sticks on them that impale your soft palette as you try to chew.  And they aren’t bitter. They also don’t have insects, holes, or a central nervous system.  This means you need to prep the leaves before using them.  While Mrs. Vlachopoulos may scream at you while you selectively defoliate her yard,  at least the leaves won’t scream while you do this to them (No CNS, remember?)

This part is up for debate. Some people remove the stems before they boil the leaves to remove the bitterness.  Others  remove the stems first and then boil the leaves to remove the bitterness. I’ve done this both ways with no significant differences.  So, I’m just going to tell you that you need to leave the stems on, because it happens that I only have photos of the stems-on process. See how I gave you a behind- the-scenes there?  I’m so cool.  FYI- if you don’t want to pick your leaves and make your dolmades on the same day, you can keep these in a bowl of cool water, covered, in the refrigerator for a day or two and nothing will happen to them.

Making the Filling

Rolling the Dolmades

Cooking the Dolmades

At this point, you are going to bring the pot to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer the dolmades at very low flame until the rice is cooked.  This can take an hour, it can take an hour and a half, it can take two hours. I can’t stress this enough- you need to check.

May Lerios actually has a much more detailed cooking process here. She uses a crockpot, instead of a conventional one.  According to her suggestion,  your best bet is to simmer them for 45 minutes, taste one, and continue cooking as needed. This is what I did.

Once they are done, let them cool for a bit and pour out the water while  holding the plate down, to keep them from falling out of the pot .  Arrange on a platter and allow to further cool. Squeeze a lemon or two over the top and and serve.

IMAG0429

YUM! See you next time! Keep an eye out on my tumblr, and see if you can guess the next recipe!

PS-  While I can’t claim to own the Greek language, It’s pronounced EE-Kose, not OY-KOSE. Every time I hear those dreadful ads I cringe and part of my broca’s area disintegrates.   Can someone please give the brand managers over at Dannon a clue, please!