Coconut-Polenta Rounds

Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 July 2011 12:56 Written by Flax Wednesday, 23 March 2011 10:42

Mushrooms on a bed of PolentaI often get asked, how I come up with new recipes every week.  The answer is that I find inspiration all over the place.  I also think I must dream about food.  This is because one morning last week, I opened my eyes, and this recipe popped into my head.  I must admit that if I do have to dream about food, this dish is worthy.

In class we made this as a spicy biscuit, served with grilled mushrooms and grilled eggplant slices.  It can also be made into a delicious egg free, gluten-free cookie.  I give both recipes below.

Spicy Polenta    

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1″ ginger, grated
  • 1″ chilli pepper, diced
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut into small pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Oil the bottom of a sauce pan.  Saute the onions for a few minutes until soft.  Add the remaining spices and saute for one minute more.  Add the water and the coconut milk and bring to a boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the red pepper and then slowly pour in the polenta, while briskly stirring the whole time to prevent lumps.   Keep stirring the polenta for a few minutes while it cooks.  The polenta is ready when it starts to thicken and pull away from the pan. 

Pour the polenta on to a flat surface and smooth it out.  Allow it to cool for up to five minutes.  Use a cookie cutter to cut out the desired shape. 

It’s not really possible to recut the remaining polenta – so just put it on the table and let people munch on it. 

Sweet Polenta

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Bring the liquid, spices and sugar to a boil.  Follow the same method as above.

Before serving, grill the polenta in a toaster or an oven for five minutes.

Serve hot.  Serves 4-6

Enjoy!

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Stuffed Zucchini

Last Updated on Thursday, 3 February 2011 04:57 Written by Flax Thursday, 3 February 2011 09:57

Israelis like their stuffed vegetables (memulaim)  so much that they developed a zucchini designed specifically for stuffing. They are round in form which makes it much easier to scoop out the seeds.  If you can’t find round zucchinis then use the regular zucchini, slice them in half length-wise and make zucchini “boats”.

This dish is quick and easy.  It is a beautiful appetizer or can be part of the main meal.  I give a vegan recipe below but you can easily replace the mushrooms with 200 gr. ground meat.

The filling in this recipe is meant to fall apart when eaten, but the flax-seed will give it a little bit of hold.  Additionally, you are also getting all the wonderful benefits of flax-seed.

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 6 round zucchini 
  • 1 package shitaki mushrooms, diced
  • 6 shallots, diced
  • 5 sage leaves, chopped fine
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed
  • Atlantic grey sea salt
  • pepper

Preheat the oven to 180 c.  Slice off the tops of the zucchini and place them on the side.  Scoop out the zucchini seeds and a little of the flesh to make room for the stuffing.  Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.  Saute the mushrooms and shallots until they are soft.  Add the sage, flax-seed, salt, and pepper and mix well.

Stuff the zucchini with the mushroom mixture and cover with the zucchini top.  Put 2 tbsp water at the bottom of a flat oven proof pan.  Place the zucchini inside carefully, making sure that they remain upright.  Bake for apx. 30 minutes or until the zucchini’s start browning.

Serve on a bed of tri-colored quinoa.

Note:  You can save the seeds and use them in a soup or a sauce.

Serves 6.

Enjoy!

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Grilled Vegetables

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 December 2010 12:15 Written by Flax Wednesday, 22 December 2010 12:15

As you might have understood by now, one of my goals in life is to encourage people to eat more vegetables. Why do I care if you eat enough vegetables? Because I believe that the path to wellness starts with good nutrition. And, the first step to good nutrition is eating enough vegetables.
The major problem with today’s eating culture is, that most people do not eat enough vegetables. Vegetables should be 60% of your diet. By having a diet that is based on vegetables, you are constantly reminding your body that it is alive.
While the subject is complicated and it involves biochemistry and ph levels of the blood, the way I see it is; when you eat things that are alive, your body knows that it is alive, when you eat things that are dead, your body thinks that it is dead. Slightly graphic, but you get the picture.
I am not vegan, vegetarian, fruitivore, or macrobiotic. Nor do I follow any of those fad diets that pop up every few months. I just believe that we need to eat vegetables. (Seaweed being the ideal vegetable, but that is a different blog.) An adults’ food triangle should be 60% vegetables, 30% grains and 10% protein (this includes animal and vegetable proteins). The top 1% should be fats and sweets. For all of you who are counting, I am aware that the sum is 101%. The top 1% doesn’t count as nutrition, it is your bonus points for being good.
Animal products should remain a luxury, something added to a meal to give it flavor and richness. They should never be the foundation of the diet. Consider the fact, that it is only because of enormous subsidies to farmers that dairy, meat and fowl are affordable on a daily basis. Perhaps we are better off eating the way G-d intended, instead of being influenced by political lobbies and crooked politicians.
Anyway, I apologize for the rant, back to the subject. The way I encourage eating more vegetables is that I make them delicious and beautiful. Vegetables come in three basic colors and flavors. Orange vegetables which are sweet. Green vegetables which are salty and bitter. White vegetables which are pungent and usually either bitter or sweet. Each type of vegetable strengthens a different organ and eating a variety of different color vegetables means that you are eating a balanced diet. Also understanding the flavors of the vegetables means that you can easily interchange between them, freeing you from needing to follow a recipe.
One method I use to encourage vegetable eating is that I serve them first. This is a dish that I serve for shabbat lunch as an appetizer. A type of anti-pasti if you will. While I list ingredients here, feel free to change them as you wish, using whatever you find in the market.

Ingredients:

1 leek, sliced into 4″ pieces.
2 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4.
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into rounds.
5 shallots, peeled and halved.
1 head cauliflower, broken into large pieces.
2 fennel, quartered.
1 celeriac, peeled and sliced.
1 box button mushrooms, bottom of stem removed.
olive oil
5 sprigs thyme, leaves removed.
salt and pepper.

Put the vegetables in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper. Mix well. Lie the vegetables flat, in a single layer, on an oven proof pan. Broil on medium setting until they begin to brown, about 20 minutes. Flip and brown the other side as well (optional).

Arrange on a serving platter.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Note: Since this dish does not have a dark green leafy vegetables, it should be served along with steamed broccoli or a lettuce salad.

Enjoy!

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