Friday, May 31, 2013

Save Your Scraps! Make Homemade Stock

I love making soups (even in the summer), but I'm horrible about remembering to save things to make a good stock. From what I hear, the stock is the foundation of the soup and so I need to step up my stock game.

Aliza Green to the rescue! Aliza's newest book, The Soupmaker's Kitchen, is filled with tips, techniques, and recipes for home chefs. I thought that rather than sharing a recipe from this book, I'd share some of Aliza's thoughts and suggestions on making stock. I know I'm going to be keeping these in mind all summer long as we get all of our fresh veggies from the farm CSA.
Stocks: The Foundation

In most good kitchens, one of the chef’s tasks is inspecting the trash cans to make sure that nothing useful is tossed out, whether the cores of sweet bell pepper, the skin of onions, the head of a fish, or the wing tips of chicken. We can learn from the masters and get every last bit of flavor by making our own stock, one of the most satisfying tasks in the kitchen.

Save That Vegetable Cooking Water
Many of the nutrients and much of the flavor of vegetables is contained in their cooking water, so don’t throw it out. Potatoes, corn, sweet potatoes, spinach, green beans, beets, mushrooms, squash, zucchini, cauliflower, leeks, and sweet bell peppers all taste good and will give you instant vegetable stock. The water from cooking cabbage, rutabagas, or turnips will be too strong to use for delicate soups. Save small amounts of liquid in a ziplock bag or a small freezer container until you have enough to be useful, making sure to date and label the package. This is best done with organic vegetables, as conventional vegetables may leach pesticides into the cooking water.

The Roasting Juices Are the Best Part
If you’re a meat eater, you will often have trimmings from either raw or cooked product. Turn them into homemade stock that is full of flavor with rich body. Put that roasted chicken carcass, or the bones from a roasted meat, and any juices that have dripped off into a pot, add cold water, and simmer until the remaining meat falls off the bone. After a few hours, add aromatic vegetables and tender herb trimmings and continue simmering.

Stockmaker’s Tips
• Start stock using cold water, which helps extract gelatinous collagen that may be sealed in by hot water.

• Bring the stock up to a boil slowly, skimming away the fat and impurities that rise to the surface.

• Simmer the stock very gently so that small bubbles just break the surface. If it boils, it will get cloudy.

• Do not add salt to stock because often stocks are reduced. Season the soup, not the stock.

• When preparing a protein-based stock, add the meat first to the (cold) liquid and bring it to a boil. Skim off the white, and then tan, scum that rises to the surface before adding vegetables and other ingredients such as herbs and spices. For tough cuts, such as beef brisket or ham hock, simmer the protein for up to 24 hours before adding the vegetables, which will impart all their flavor and body to the stock after 1 to 2 hours.

• To remove the fat from a stock, strain, preferably into a stainless steel bowl, which allows the stock to cool faster. Once the fat rises to the top, remove it with a ladle or allow the stock to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it, usually overnight, or until the fat on the surface becomes solid, so that it can be removed easily.

• All stocks freeze well if stored in an airtight container and can be kept frozen up to 3 months


The Soupmaker’s Kitchen is a complete guide to making soups, broths, potages, minestra, minestrone, bisques, and borscht. Learn how to set up your kitchen to use your ingredients most optimally—from saving vegetable scraps for stock to tips on freezing finished soups. Explore more than 100 soup recipes, plus variations on each one, from all over the world, and in every style of soup you might want to eat. Recipes include:

—Hungarian Woodlands Mushroom Soup with Sour Cream and Paprika
—Tuscan Pappa al Pomodoro
—Senegalese Peanut and Yam Puree with Ginger
—Provencal Soupe au Pistou with Savoy Cabbage, White Beans, and Leeks
—Wild Salmon Chowder with Sweet Corn & Gold Potatoes
—Tom Kha Gai (Thai Chicken Coconut Soup)
—Cream of Cauliflower with Nutmeg and Chives
—Kerala Red Lentil Soup (vegan)
—Vietnamese Pho Soup with Beef Brisket
—Caribbean Callalou Soup with Crabmeat and Coconut

Focus on fresh ingredients and learn how to use every part of them to minimize waste, save money, and maximize flavor with The Soupmaker’s Kitchen!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Raw Shaved Roots and Herbed Parnsip Stack

I'm a huge fan of zucchini and summer squash. We grow both in our garden and also receive a hefty amount of each in our weekly farm share. As such, I'm always scrambling to find great recipes and ideas for how to use these delicious squash. This recipe from Tina Leigh has just topped the charts for me because it looks heavenly, it's light and easy to make, and it's perfect for warmer weather!


Shaved Roots and Herbed Parsnip Stack
Excerpted from Balanced Raw by Tina Leigh

This savory entree is exquisite in appearance and full of fiber, antioxidants, and protein. You will love the robust herbed parsnip puree, which is layered between thin slices of lightly steamed squash and fresh tomato.

Yield: 4 servings | Time: 30 minutes (includes prep time) | Equipment: vegetable steamer, food processor, mandoline

2 cups (220 g) peeled and cubed parsnips
1 large zucchini, peeled and shaved into disks with a mandoline
1 large yellow summer squash, peeled and shaved into disks with a mandoline
1 large celery root, peeled and shaved into disks with a mandoline
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons (16 g) fresh parsley, chopped, divided
1 small shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus a pinch for garnish
2 tablespoons (28 ml) fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
2 red tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons cold-pressed and unfiltered olive oil
2 tablespoons (7.5 g) fresh parsley, chopped

1. Fill the bottom of a vegetable steamer with water and bring to a boil. Steam parsnips for 12 minutes. Remove and set aside.

2. Repeat with zucchini until just soft, about 30 seconds. Remove with tongs and set aside. Repeat with yellow squash, and then celery root, each about 30 seconds.

3. To make the parsnip puree, add the parsnips, garlic, sage, thyme, parsley, shallot, sea salt, and black pepper to a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add lemon juice and water, and puree until smooth.

4. To prepare layered stacks, place a slice of tomato on the center of a plate and top with a thin layer of the parsnip puree. Top the puree with a disk of celery root. Then spread another layer of puree and top with zucchini, spread another layer of parsnip puree on zucchini, and finish with a disk of squash.

5. Repeat one time more until you have two slices of each vegetable. Finish each stack with a few drops of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt, ground black pepper, and chopped parsley.

Note: If you do not have a mandoline, use a very sharp knife to achieve thin slices of the vegetables. To increase your daily dose of greens, steam a bit of kale, spinach, or chard for 30 seconds and add as a layer. 


A growing number of health practitioners—as well as restaurants and celebrities such as Sting, Madonna, and Beyonce—are espousing raw food or “living food” diets as a way to stave off disease, boost energy, and lose weight. However, 100% raw diets are difficult to sustain and have come under fire recently for not being nutritionally optimal. Balanced Raw eschews the all-or-nothing approach of other books and contains a 4-phase, 30-day plan for making the raw food lifestyle livable for life. Start your balanced raw lifestyle today!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

His and Hers Mustards

The greatest thing about having a food blog is having amazing foodie friends who are willing to try recipes with you and share their thoughts. After a long chat about mustards, I convinced my friend Tiffany to share her mustard making experience here on SPOON. Now I'm going to have to make some mustard of my own.
His & Hers Mustards
We go through a lot of mustard at my house. It's crucial for our sandwiches, pretzel dip, and salad dressings
the more the better. And, for one of us, the hotter the better: My husband and I made Erin Coopey's Spicy Brown Mustard from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook this weekend, and we had some trouble deciding when to stop letting it mellow. "Wow, I need some water," I said just as he said, "It's perfect!" Marriage is about compromise, right? 

Next time we'll make two batches.


Spicy Brown Mustard

If you could describe mustard in the same way you describe wine, this one would be complex—spicy, tangy, sweet, and nutty, with exotic undertones.

1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1 cup (112 g) crushed brown mustard seeds or 3/4 cup (132 g) whole brown mustard seeds, finely ground (see Note)
1/2 cup (120 ml) red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (optional)

Combine all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 to 2 days so that the mustard begins to mellow and the flavors meld. Transfer to an airtight container. Cover and refrigerate overnight and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Note: I use pre-crushed brown mustard seeds from
Penzeys Spices, but you can substitute whole mustard seeds. You will need to grind them into a fine powder using a food processor or spice mill prior to mixing them into the recipe. If you find that the final mustard still seems slightly watery after sitting at room temperature for 1 or 2 days, pour the mustard into a blender or food processor and process until smooth.

Learn how to make your own pantry staples with this essential handbook, including the condiments, nut butters, salad dressings, stocks, relishes, and dips you like to keep in stock. Homemade foods from scratch always taste better; just try a spoonful of creamy, eggy, from-scratch mayonnaise and you'll swear off the salty bland commercial stuff for good! The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook shows you how to make your own foods to have on hand for your favorite meals. Avoid the high fructose corn syrup, the extra salt, the trans fats, the modified food starch, and the unpronounceable preservatives, and tailor the recipes to avoid the ingredients your family is allergic to. Each recipe features easy substitutions whenever possible, as well as the best way to store the finished product.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Gluten-Free Honey Nut Trail Mix Bars Recipe

With Memorial Day behind us, we can officially say that summer is just about here (FINALLY)! With that in mind, I've been thinking a lot about snack food, especially things I can make to carry with me when I'm on the go. Olivia Dupin has a great recipe for homemade, gluten-free granola bars that I couldn't help but share. Even if you're not gluten-free, these easy-to-make bars are the ideal snack when you're traveling, enjoying a day out in the sunshine, or just lying by the pool.

Honey Nut Trail Mix Bars
Excerpted from The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods by Olivia Dupin

Olivia says: "These are my go-to bar for a nutritious breakfast on the run or a portable snack. They are infinitely better than the packaged kind you buy at the store and are simple to make. Feel free to experiment with different dried fruit and nut combinations."


1 1⁄2 cups (40 g) crispy brown rice cereal
1⁄2 cup (75 g) whole cashews
1⁄2 cup (70 g) whole almonds
1⁄2 cup (75 g) roasted shelled pistachios
1⁄2 cup (50 g) whole pecans or walnuts
1⁄2 cup (75 g) raisins
1⁄2 cup (60 g) dried cranberries
1⁄4 cup (36 g) sesame seeds
1⁄4 cup (28 g) flaxseed meal
1⁄4 cup (20 g) flaked coconut
1⁄2 cup (170 g) honey
1⁄4 cup (60 g) firmly packed brown sugar
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C, or gas mark 2). Cut a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23-cm) piece of parchment paper. Grease a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23-cm) baking pan, line with the parchment paper, grease the paper, and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the brown rice cereal, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pecans, raisins, dried cranberries, sesame seeds, flaxseed meal, and flaked coconut. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Use another piece of parchment paper to press down the mixture so that it is flat and evenly distributed to the corners of the pan. Remove top layer of parchment and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan for several hours.

Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board, peeling away the parchment paper on the bottom. Using a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store in a zipper-top bag or an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.


Chef’s Tips

  • Flax is a great source of fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, but whole flaxseed cannot be digested by the body. Be sure to buy ground flaxseed or grind your own in a clean coffee grinder!
  • For a little decadence, drizzle or dip these in melted dark chocolate.


Whether you live gluten-free due to a wheat intolerance or digestive disorder, or because you’re simply looking to eat healthier and lose weight, The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods is your one-stop reference to going g-free naturally and effectively.

Part 1 shows you how to begin a gluten-free diet with ease, with information on everything from how to shop for naturally gluten-free ingredients—many of which you’re probably already familiar—to what to look out for at restaurants and in packaged foods, to how to stock your pantry with the best and healthiest staples. You’ll also learn the keys to following a balanced gluten-free diet, so that you can be sure you’re getting all the fiber and nutrients you need to be your healthiest.

Part 2 includes 100 delicious recipes you can make with ingredients you’d find in any supermarket—no scary, foreign-sounding fillers or other products included. From classic home-style dishes like BBQ Pulled Pork and Soft Tacos, to new favorites like Quinoa Pilaf with Roasted Root Vegetables and Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies, you’ll find countless meals to fit your time, budget, and tastes.

With The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods, going g-free has never been easier—or more delicious!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Memorial Day!

Want to know how to make THE perfect burger? Check out our Fan Friday post on Wicked Good Burgers. And click below to enter to win the book.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wicked Good Burgers, Sandwiches, and Sides by Andy Husbands

Wicked Good Burgers, Sandwiches, and Sides

by Andy Husbands

Giveaway ends June 06, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Memorial Day and Arrested Development is BACK weekend!

This has got to be the BEST Memorial Day weekend ever for one big reason...


My all-time favorite television series, which was brutally cancelled by Fox over 10 years ago, is back (THANK YOU oh illustrious Netflix) and I am pee-my-pants excited. Okay, that might have been a bit much, but you get the drift.

So it got me thinking... what better way to celebrate the long weekend than by sharing a delicious banana recipe (after all, the banana stand is just about the coolest thing I've ever seen. And there is "always money in the banana stand"). Sadly, I do not have a recipe for a Bluth frozen banana, but I do have a great recipe for Oodles of Fruit Banana Splits. Three guesses what I'll be eating while I celebrate this weekend...

Courtesy of Buzz Feed

Oodles of Fruit Banana Split
Excerpted from Everything Goes with Ice Cream by Koralee Teichroeb

What could be better than a classic banana split to share between friends? The bananas in the original banana splits were unpeeled until the creator realized that customers preferred their bananas peeled.

Makes 1 banana split

1 large banana, peeled & cut in half lengthwise
1 large scoop each vanilla, chocolate & strawberry ice cream
Fresh strawberries, sliced
Fresh pineapple, cut into chunks
Chocolate pieces
Sweetened whipped cream

Put all ingredients into a large, long dish in the traditional banana split fashion, and enjoy!  

Follow Arrested Development on Twitter today. Seriously worth it. Follow SPOON on Twitter to find out what I make the day of the premiere. And have a wonderful long weekend!


And since it's Memorial Day too, why not enter our Goodreads giveaway for your chance to win a copy of the bestselling burger book, Wicked Good Burgers. Enter quickly below. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Wicked Good Burgers, Sandwiches, and Sides by Andy Husbands

Wicked Good Burgers, Sandwiches, and Sides

by Andy Husbands

Giveaway ends June 06, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Friday, May 24, 2013

Artichoke Dip and Homemade Potato Chips

Happy Friday SPOON fans! I hope you all have wonderful weekend plans awaiting you. The weather is supposed to be pretty terrible here, but I still plan on cooking. Feel free to follow along with my weekend adventures by following me on instagram and Twitter. I'll be cooking up something fun, I'm sure.

There's not too much I can say about these recipes other than WANT. This is sure to be one of my favorite cookbooks this season. It even has recipes for making your own ketchups, relishes, mustards, and more.

Artichoke DipExcerpted from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey

Gooey, warm, tangy ... this is perfect with pita or tortilla chips

Yield: About 2 cups (460 g)


2 packages (8 ounces, or 225 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (115 g) mayonnaise (page 10)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon original Tabasco sauce (optional)
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic purée or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup (25 g) sliced scallion
1 package (8 ounces, or 225 g) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (40 g) shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or Asiago cheese, divided


Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC, or gas mark 4).

Using a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth and creamy. Add the mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, Tabasco, salt, and garlic and continue beating until fully blended, about 2 minutes.

Using a rubber scraper or spoon, fold in the scallion, artichoke hearts, and 1/4 cup (20 g) of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. When the ingredients have been incorpo­rated, scrape the dip into a small casserole dish or medium-size cast-iron skillet. Cover the dish with aluminum foil or a tight-fitting lid and bake for 25 minutes until warm and bubbly.

Remove the dish from the oven, uncover, and sprinkle the dip with the remaining 1/4 cup (20 g) Parmigiano-Reggiano. Preheat the broiler. Return the dish to the oven and place 4 to 6 inches (10 to 15 cm) from the broiler. Broil until the cheese melts and turns light golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven. Allow to cool slightly, 5 to 10 minutes, and serve. This dip is equally good with tortilla chips or pita chips

Store any unused dip in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. To serve again, cover the dish snuggly in aluminum foil and warm in a 300ºF (150ºC, or gas mark 2) oven for 15 to 20 minutes.


Homemade Potato Chips
Excerpted from The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook by Erin Coopey

Even slices are the key to consistent chips, so unless you’ve got an eagle eye and a steady hand, using a mandoline is your best bet.

Yield: Makes 4 to 8 servings


1 pound (455 g) russet or Idaho potatoes, peeled or simply scrubbed clean
About 8 cups (1.9 L) rice bran oil, canola oil, or beef tallow, for frying
Fine sea salt, to taste


Slice the potatoes very thinly, 1/8 inch (3 mm) or thinner. Place the slices in a bowl of cold water. Add a handful of ice cubes to help crisp the slices. Allow to chill for 30 minutes.

In a deep fryer or heavy-bottomed stockpot, heat the oil to 320º to 350ºF (160º to 180ºC). Line a cookie sheet with paper towels.

Pour the sliced potatoes through a colander to drain. Remove any unmelted ice cubes and pat the potatoes dry with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.

Using a blanching basket, stir-fry spider, or slotted spoon, fry batches of potatoes until golden and crisp on both sides, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stirring the potatoes gently as you fry can help them crisp evenly and not clump together. Drain the potatoes of excess oil over the fryer, transfer them to the prepared cookie sheet, and season with salt.

Cool to room temperature before serving. Store any uneaten potato chips (yeah, like that’s gonna happen) in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Variation: Truffled Potato Chips—Season with truffle salt and instead of regular sea salt for a pungent, garlicky burst. Add a sprinkle of minced fresh parsley for color.


Learn how to make your own pantry staples with this essential handbook, including the condiments, nut butters, salad dressings, stocks, relishes, and dips you like to keep in stock. Homemade foods from scratch always taste better; just try a spoonful of creamy, eggy, from-scratch mayonnaise, and you'll swear off the salty bland commercial stuff for good! The Kitchen Pantry Cookbook shows you how to make your own foods to have on hand for your favorite meals. Avoid the high fructose corn syrup, the extra salt, the trans fats, the modified food starch, and the unpronounceable preservatives, and tailor the recipes to avoid the ingredients your family is allergic to. Each recipe features easy substitutions whenever possible, as well as the best way to store the finished product.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Memorial Day: Honey-Ginger Salmon

While I am a huge fan of burgers and hot dogs on the grill, I also love barbecuing salmon. It's a healthier option and always tastes great. This recipe from Deirdre Rawlings also highlights fermented foods, which takes an ordinary recipe and makes it extraordinary ... especially for your health. That's a win win in my books.

Brain-Protective Honey-Ginger Salmon
Excerpted from Fermented Foods for Health by Deirdre Rawlings

The omega-3s in salmon are greatly enhanced by fermentation. I’ve adapted this delicious recipe from Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions. For an added nutritional punch, serve it on sourdough bread with kefir cheese, or keep it simple and serve with a salad.

1 tablespoon (20 g) locally harvested raw honey
1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger
2 or 3 scallions, chopped
1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) Easy Whey
1⁄4 cup (60 ml) Basic Brine
1 pound (455 g) salmon fillet, skinned and cut into bite-size pieces
2 slices lemon
2 tablespoons (8 g) chopped fresh dill
2 bay leaves

In a medium bowl, combine the honey, ginger, scallions, peppercorns, whey, and brine. Pack the fish, lemon, and dill into a 1-quart (946-ml) fermenting jar. Pour the honey mixture over the fish so that the fish is completely submerged. Leave 1 inch (2.5 cm) of space below the top of the jar. Add the bay leaves and cap the jar tightly. Leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Transfer to the refrigerator, where it will keep for up to 2 weeks. Remove the salmon from the brine before serving. You can add this, as is, to salads, or serve it with vegetables.

You can even add fermented relishes and other condiments to enhance probiotics and flavor.

Yield: 1 pound (455 g)

Wild-caught (also called Pacific) salmon contains higher levels of omega-3 essential fatty acids and lower levels of bacteria than farmed salmon. PCBs and dioxins, which are endocrine disrupters, are also found in farmed salmon. Note that all Atlantic salmon is farmed.


Fermented foods have shown to be beneficial for a number of health conditions including candida overgrowth, IBS and digestive difficulties, sugar/carb cravings, and other inflammatory disorders. What’s more, science is starting to show that our modern lifestyle of completely eschewing bacteria via pasteurized foods, hand sanitizers, disinfectants, and antibiotics is actually making us more, not less, susceptible to illness and allergies. Regular inclusion of fermented foods in the diet naturally combats bad bacteria and strengthens the immune system. Fermented Foods for Health includes meal plans of fermented foods for addressing specific ailments and repairing the metabolism. Seventy-five delicious recipes show readers how to ferment everything from meats to vegetables, fruits, and dairy—and how to utilize each of them for specific health benefits such as balancing the body's PH, increasing enzyme production, and strengthening immunity.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Fiery Ginger Yam Salad

Memorial Day is around the corner here in the United States and that means I'm thinking about burgers, grilling, and side dishes!

Since I've already done a few posts on making the perfect burger, I thought I'd switch things up a bit and share some unique ideas for side dishes. The first one is an African recipe that is a great new take on traditional potato salad. The best part? This recipe is vegan and gluten-free so everyone can enjoy a bite.

Fiery Ginger Yam Salad
Excerpted from Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World by Allyson Kramer

Fiery Ginger Yam Salad

This salad is inspired by two of Africa’s most often-used crops: ginger and yams. The ginger in this recipe dominates and adds a bit of heat to the salad. Cut it slightly if you’d prefer a less fiery dish.

3 medium-size white yams

For the Dressing:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons (16 g) fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon (20 g) agave
1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
Dash nutmeg
1⁄3 cup (5 g) finely chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon (15 ml) lemon juice
1 tablespoon (15 ml) coconut milk
8 finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes, soaked in water at least 1 hour and drained

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C, gas mark 4), place the yams on a baking sheet, and loosely cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 to 1 1⁄2 hours or until soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven and let cool briefly until cool enough to handle.

Remove the skins and cut into bite-size cubes. Place in a large bowl.

Make the dressing by mixing all the ingredients, except the sun-dried tomatoes, together in a small bowl. Add the sun-dried tomatoes and then drizzle the dressing onto the cooked yams.

Toss lightly to coat.

Yams, while being a good source of fiber, also provide a hefty boost of potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and manganese.


Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World

Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats From Around the World is a cookbook for the home chef who likes to explore a world of cuisines, regardless of allergies or dietary restrictions. Step inside and travel the globe while still adhering to your plant-based, gluten-free diet with ethnic entrees you may have thought were off-limits, but are actually even better re-imagined! From European classics like Fig Pastries with Clotted Cream and English Cottage Pie to Caribbean specialties like Jamaican Jerk Tofu and Plantain and Potato Soup, you’ll dine on delicious dishes from all around the globe, while still pleasing every palate at your table.

Author Allyson Kramer, founder of the popular g-free vegan blog Manifest Vegan (, will walk you through each and every recipe—most of which include a photo—showing you exactly how to create gourmet meals that are impressive enough for even the most seasoned foodie. From tempting appetizers, to hearty mains, to luscious desserts, you’ll find more than 100 globally-inspired recipes that prove eating vegan and gluten-free doesn't have to be a sacrifice, but rather an international delight!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Foraging for Fiddlehead Ferns

The other day I was in my local grocery store when I stumbled across fiddlehead ferns in the produce aisle. I had just been chatting with a friend of mine about how many amazing fiddlehead recipes we had stumbled across lately and how we needed to plan a fiddlehead fern foraging trip sometime soon. Since I had never tried fiddlehead ferns before, I thought I'd give it a whirl. I'll tell you this. Fiddleheads are delicious. I sauteed mine in some olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper. I ate two helpings and now cannot wait to go foraging.

Since Gary Lincoff is my go-to for foraging advice, I thought I'd share this information on the fiddlehead fern right from the expert himself.


Fiddlehead Ferns
Excerpted from The Joy of Foraging by Gary Lincoff

Furled Fiddlehead Ferns
Furled Fiddlehead Ferns

Unfurled Fiddlehead Ferns
Unfurled Fiddlehead Ferns

While not a harbinger of spring, fiddlehead ferns are one of the glories of spring growth. It’s always
amazing watching their fronds rise up and unfurl like some kind of leafy green prehistoric creature. In
some countries, such as Japan, there are fern festivals.

In the spring, ferns garner a good price in upscale food stores; they also appear on the seasonal menus
of some high-end restaurants.

COMMON NAME: Ostrich Fern Fiddlehead

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Matteuccia struthiopteris

PLANT FAMILY: Onocleaceae (Ostrich Fern family)

FIELD DESCRIPTION: Ostrich fern has a crownlike growth, and it produces two kinds of structures.
One is a tall, green, leafy frond, and the other is a brown stalk with short side branches that produce
the spores.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR AND WHEN: Look for fully expanded ostrich ferns when mature and return the following late April or early May to gather the tops.

LOOK-ALIKES: Other ferns have “fiddleheads” or crosiers, too, when they first unfurl, and not all are palatable, so it’s important to know the field description features of this particular fern.

DISTRIBUTION: Northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere

USES: Still furled tops (crosiers) well cooked as a potherb; eat in moderation

NOTES ON METHODS: Collect the tops only, and only when they’re still furled (curled); cook well.

COMMERCIAL AVAILABILITY: Often available in season in farmers markets and upscale food stores


Here are some photos from my first fiddlehead experience. Hope they inspire you to try out these delectable ferns sometime soon!


Joy of Foraging

Discover the edible riches in your backyard, local parks, woods, and even roadside! In The Joy of Foraging, Gary Lincoff shows you how to find fiddlehead ferns, rose hips, beach plums, bee balm, and more, whether you are foraging in the urban jungle or the wild, wild woods. You will also learn about fellow foragers—experts, folk healers, hobbyists, or novices like you—who collect wild things and are learning new things to do with them every day. Along with a world of edible wild plants—wherever you live, any season, any climate—you’ll find essential tips on where to look for native plants, and how to know without a doubt the difference between edibles and toxic look-alikes. There are even ideas and recipes for preparing and preserving the wild harvest year-round—all with full-color photography. Let Gary take you on the ultimate tour of our edible wild kingdom!