Archive for July, 2010

Pickled Red Onions

I used to dislike onions intensely, especially crunchy onions.  My family waited many times outside the, ahem, MacDonald’s drive through, for my burger with no onions until finally they started making me get it with onions and pick them off – ick on many counts!  Somehow, it’s all turned around and I can only attribute that to this recipe.  For some reason, I am obsessed with these.  I literally eat them out of the jar and my husband looks at me like I am crazy.  I also eat them on green salads, bean salads, veggie burgers, bean dips, and sandwiches.  Although the recipe just calls for onions, I often add radishes, cucumbers, kohlrabi, etc.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 

  • 4 medium-sized red onions
  • a big pot or kettle of boiling water
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar (preferably raw and unfiltered)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons coconut sugar (use less if replacing with another sweetener)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns, in a tea ball or tied in cheesecloth*
*I put the pepper in a tea ball so I can easily remove it once its flavor is infused into the pickles.  Cheesecloth or something like it would work too – there is nothing worse that biting into a whole peppercorn, blech. 

In a medium-large bowl, mix the vinegar, water, coconut sugar, and salt until the sugar is dissolved.  Plop in the pepper.  Peel the onions and slice them as thinly as you can.  Put them into a large colander and give them a few shakes to break up the layers.  Pour the boiling water over them slowly, so they begin to wilt a bit.  Put the onions into the bowl and immerse in the vinegar mixture.  If you want to add other raw vegetables, throw them in too; no need to wilt them.  If they aren’t immersed, weigh them down with a plate so they can soak up the flavor.  Leave them on the counter for a few hours, then transfer to a mason jar or other sealed container and store in the fridge.  Enjoy!


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Grilled Fava Beans

Last Summer was my first foray into cooking fava beans and I diligently removed the outside pod, then the inside skin, and cooked the fava beans to creamy deliciousness.  Funny thing, though, after the first couple times, the novelty wore off…The beauty of grilling them is that the cook hardly has to do any work and everyone eating the beans can (has to) pitch in to shell them.  Like edamame, since these are shelled by the eater, anything on the outside gets transferred to the fingers and then the beans, so don’t be afraid to let them get messy! 

  • 5-6 fava bean pods per person
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • herbs, spices of your choice

Heat a grill to about medium heat.  If you want to season with herbs or spices (maybe some dried chile peppers, fresh dill, whatever you like), pour some olive oil into a small bowl and sprinkle the seasoning in.  Rinse the fava bean pods and toss them in a generous amount of olive oil, then sprinkle liberally with sea salt, either coarse or fine.  Place the pods in one layer on the heated grill and close the lid.  Cook for about 5-6 minutes until they are a bit charred, flip, and cook a few minutes more.  When done, the beans should be soft and creamy.  Let them cool a bit, then serve warm.  Break open the pods, then slip the bean out of it’s skin and pop it in your mouth.  Lick your fingers and enjoy!

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Strawberries and Nut Cream

I know that to some, dessert equals chocolate.  I, however, have always been a fruit dessert kind of girl.  I bought some local, organic strawberries at the Farmers’ Market the other day and they are absolutely delicious.  I feel good about eating them, knowing where they are grown and that there is no spraying going on at the farm next door to be picked up by the wind and showered upon my beautiful berries.  They are, of course, wonderful on their own, but adding a lightly sweetened nut cream balances both the sweetness and the tartness of the berries, while adding some healthy fats, protein, and some additional health promoting nutrients to the mix. 

I use brazil nut in this cream because, while I often find myself snacking on almonds, cashews, and walnuts, brazil nuts just aren’t in my snacking repertoire.  Like all nuts, they have a long list of health benefits, but the one that stands out most in my mind is that brazil nuts are very rich in selenium.  Selenium is a powerful antioxidant, meaning that it neutralizes free radicals that can otherwise attack our healthy cells, causing disease.  I recently learned that selenium is also helpful in fighting candida.  Whether you are concerned about these particulars or not, we all know it’s good to eat a variety of foods.  Plus, brazil nuts are high in (healthy) fat, so perfect for a rich and delicious cream for your berries! 

These are perfect just on their own, but if you want the full strawberry shortcake effect, I love them with millet bread (which you can buy at my Farmers’ Market stand:).  For a decadent breakfast, you could serve them over waffles or pancakes.  For a fancy, yet healthy, dessert, you could layer the cream, strawberries, and something crunchy like Adaba Crumbles (sorry I’m shameless today) or granola in a glass.  If you have an ice cream maker, the nut cream also makes a yummy non-dairy ice cream…

  • 1 small bowl of sliced strawberries per person
  • 1 cup brazil nuts, soaked 4-6 hours
  • 1 cup water, plus more to adjust for consistency 
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
  • 4 pitted medjool dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder (use extract if you don’t have the powder)
  • pinch salt

Drain and rinse the brazil nuts.  Put all of the ingredients, except the strawberries, in a Vitamix or blender and blend until smooth.  Add more water as necessary to allow for easy processing and to adjust for the consistency you want.  Taste, adjust sweetener and vanilla if necessary.  Drizzle generously over berries and enjoy!

P.S. you will most likely have some extra cream, depending on how many people you are serving and just how generous you want to be with the cream.  You can freeze it for another time, make it into ice cream, use it as a base for a smoothie, thin it to use as milk, etc, etc, etc…

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