Saturday, November 28, 2009

Chinese Arrowhead with Black Fungus

Arrowhead with fungus atop Israeli couscous

I found this wonderful recipe online one day while searching for recipes with Chinese arrowhead.  I had never heard of it before, but saw it last weekend at a local Asian market.  I'm always excited to cook with new ingredients, so I went on a search.  There were very few recipes other than frying the slices of arrowhead and ending up with what looks like potato chips.  So I happened upon this recipe and thought I'd give it a try.  The original recipe came from this blog...
My version doesn't look anywhere near as pretty, but it was absolutely delicious.  I'll be making this again for sure.  For those of you (like me) who haven't tried arrowhead and are wondering about it, I'd say it's sort of like the texture of a potato or maybe a cross between a potato and a water chestnut.
So here's what I did...

First prepare all the ingredients.  Peel and slice 6 or 7 arrowheads, peel and chop about 3 inches of fresh ginger and soak 1/2 package (maybe 1 1/2 cups) black fungus in hot water, then drain and rinse.

Whole unpeeled arrowhead

Peeled arrowhead

Sliced arrowhead

Black fungus in package

Fungus soaking

Heat some coconut oil in a pan.  I prefer to use coconut oil because of its high smoking point.  I used a large pan instead of a wok.

Coconut oil melting in the pan

Add the ginger and stir fry for a few minutes until it is fragrant and starting to soften.

Ginger sizzling in the pan

When the ginger has been cooking for a few minutes, add the arrowheads and stir fry for a minute or two more.  Stir all the time as they tend to stick (won't matter later when you add water).

Arrowheads in pan with ginger

As they start to soften slightly, add the soaked and rinsed black fungus and continue to stir fry for a few more minutes.

Fungus added to the pan

Mash up one of the cubes of fermented red bean curd from the jar and add this to the pan along with a couple of tablespoons of the liquid from the jar.  I also added 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to give it a little kick.

Piece of red bean curd

Mashed bean curd

Bean curd added to ingredients in the pan

Add 1/2 cup of water to the pan and stir fry everything for a few more minutes before serving.  I decided to be very non-traditional and served this over Israeli couscous :-)  I have to say I was really pleasantly surprised that it was as good as it was!!

Israeli coucous, toasted but not yet cooked

This is what the jar of bean curd looked like right after I opened it

Jar of fermented red bean curd (sorry it's so blurry)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Kale chips - an experiment

I've seen many different versions of kale chips online and they've always intrigued me.  We love kale and it's always good to find a new way to use it, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I decided to use my dehydrator on a low setting (about 115F) to preserve the enzymes in the kale, so these are essentially raw kale chips.  I would do this differently next time, sprinkling the salt on the chips before dehydrating because doing it the way I did (adding the salt to the oil and spices) made it too salty in some part.  All in all, these are really delicious and what a healthy snack instead of regular potato chips!!!
Here's what I did...

Wash and dry the kale leaves.  I washed them well and then spread them out on tea towels and covered with more tea towels and pressed down gently.

Washed kale

In a large bowl, mix together a couple of tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, some hot smoked paprika, some garlic powder and Celtic sea salt (next time I'll sprinkle this at the end instead of mixing it in with the other seasoning ingredients).

Oil and seasonings

Place the dried kale into the bowl and (using your hands) mix really well, massaging the kale with the seasoning mixture until it is evenly coated.  Spread onto dehydrator sheets and dry at 115F for about 3 hours.  Try to stop yourself from eating it all while you're removing it from the trays :-)

Kale on dehydrator trays

Thursday, November 26, 2009

My version of Salmon Tartare

Salmon Tartare

This is one of Perry's favourite snacks.  I enjoy it too, but he just loves it.  I don't measure ingredients, so it's never quite the same as the last time I made it.  This is the one I made a couple of nights ago.  Here's what I did...

Finely chop a few green onions and put into a bowl.  Add something spicy (this time I used Frank's Red Hot with chili and lime), some freshly ground black pepper, a pinch of Celtic sea salt, a little fresh lime juice (maybe half a lime for a 12 oz fillet of salmon) and a couple of teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil.

Add some chopped capers.  I think I used about 3 generous tablespoons.  Also, I add a splash or two of the caper liquid.

Chop a fillet of salmon into fairly small dice.  I used about 12oz of salmon this time.  Add salmon to the bowl and mix well.

Refrigerate for a couple of hours and serve.  It can be served immediately, but I find the flavours meld nicely if it's left to sit in the fridge for a little while.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A new take on stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers with Indian spices

I saved a recipe in my 'to make soon' folder a while ago but never got around to trying it.  Last night, I had another look at it and decided to make a version of it.  I have no idea where I found the recipe (somewhere online) because I only saved the text.
So here's what I did...

Chop some Yukon Gold potatoes and bring to a boil in salted water.  Meanwhile, heat some virgin coconut oil in a pan.  Add cumin seeds, black mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.  Fry until fragrant (1 minute).  Add chopped onion and fry for another few mins. until onion softens.

onions and spices in coconut oil

Add some sliced Thai bird chiles and fry for a few more seconds.  I prefer to add the chiles after the onions have softened because if I add them earlier, the heat from the chiles just makes me cough!

Onions, spices and chiles in coconut oil

Add one bunch of thinly sliced Swiss chard and stir-fry just until the chard has wilted.  Add salt to taste.

Swiss chard added to the pan

Drain potatoes, lightly smash, adding some turmeric and salt to taste and add to the pan with the chard and other ingredients.

Potatoes mixed in with the other ingredients

Taste the whole mixture once again for seasoning.  Remove the tops of the peppers and clean out the seeds and membrane.  Stuff the peppers with the potato mixture and put into a baking dish.

Peppers ready to go into the oven

Put the peppers into a preheated 400F oven.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until peppers are slightly softened (we prefer them with a little bit of a crunch) and potato filling is golden.  Remove from oven.

Peppers out of the oven

Serve with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese on top.  This step isn't necessary, but it did taste pretty yummy!!


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Drunken Noodles

Drunken Noodles

This is what Krestan always orders when we go to one of our favourite local Viet/Thai restaurants.  I made it once, many years ago (from a different recipe) so I thought I'd give it another try tonight.  I can't remember where I found the recipe as I had cut and pasted it into an e-mail and put it in one of my recipe folders.  Anyway, here's the recipe (I made quite a few changes to the original) and some pics.

Drunken Noodles
4 servings

  • 3 tbsp. ketjap manis
  • 6 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. coconut nectar
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Thai bird chilies, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups Thai basil leaves 
  • 1 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into 1 inch lengths
  • 2 sweet bell peppers, sliced 
  • fish sauce
  • 1 package fresh rice noodles (sold in 2- pound packages), strands separated
Start by making the sauce. Mix the soy sauces and coconut nectar in a bowl and set aside until needed.

Prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking.

Peppers, onions and asparagus

Thai basil

The noodles are a bit of a pain in the neck as they tend to stick together, so take the time to separate them ahead of time.

Uncooked noodles

In a very hot wok over high heat, add about 2 tbs. coconut oil. Add the chilies and garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds.

Add the onion wedges and aparagus and peppers and continue to stir-fry for about 1 minute.

I'm sure a took a pic. with the peppers too, but it magically disappeared from my camera :-)

Add a few  squirts of fish sauce and remove from the pan.  Set aside until later.

To the hot wok, add a couple more tablespoons of coconut oil, then throw in the basil and noodles. Stir-fry until the noodles begin to soften, about 3 or 4 minutes. Give the noodles a few seconds between turns to lightly brown.  I used tongs for this.

Noodles browning

Put the veggies back into the pan and add most of the sauce. Stir-fry to mix it well. Add the rest of the sauce if needed.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Oatmeal Soup

Spicy Oatmeal Soup

This is one of my favourite things to make for lunch.  It's so nutritious, full of fiber and just plain yummy!  I change it almost every time I make it, but it's always fairly similar.  This was today's version.

I sautéed 2 chopped onions in a little coconut oil.  I added 3 minced Thai bird chiles and  8 minced cloves of garlic and sautéed for a few more mins.  I added 1 generous cup of steel cut oats and cooked for another minute.  I added 2 chopped tomatoes and about 4 cups of stock.  I also added a little Celtic sea salt and soy sauce.  I cooked the whole mixture for about 15 minutes and then added about 1/3 cup oat bran.  Cooked it for about 10 more minutes and served.  So delicious! 
This made enough for my lunches all week, probably 5 or 6 servings.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


This is a recipe I found in "Living Raw Food: Get the Glow with more recipes from Pure Food and Wine" by Sarma Melngailis.  I changed it slightly as I had 2 prickly pears and 1 pomegranate, so I ended up with about 1 cup of prickly pear juice (after straining) and about 1 cup of pomegranate juice (after straining).  I used soju instead of sake because that's what I had in my fridge.  I also cut down on the sweetener and used raw honey instead of agave nectar  (I found it was already a bit sweet so it only needed about half of what was called for).  These 'tinis' were absolutely delicious!  I will definitely make them again!

The prickly pear juice after straining

The pomegranate juice in the blender before straining

Basically, you take some freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, some freshly squeezed prickly pear juice, some raw honey, some freshly squeezed lemon juice and some sake (although I used soju) and shake it all together with ice in a cocktail shaker.  Strain into a martini glass and voila!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Local organic pork

Perry and I went to a pork tasting at a local farm a few weeks ago.  We really loved everything they had to offer, so we ordered a few different cuts.  Last night I decided to use some of the lean ground pork we had ordered.  I used a recipe from the book "Hot Sour Salty Sweet" by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.  The recipe I made was "Aromatic Minced Pork, Shan Style".  It is a mixture of lemongrass, chiles, galangal, garlic, shallots, scallions, coriander, mint and pork.  It really was wonderful.  Perry and I absolutely loved it.  I served it with red rice and some whole nappa cabbage leaves.  I served the pork mixture with the rice and we scooped up a little of each with the nappa cabbage leaves.  It was great and we'll definitely have this dish again!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Homemade Healthy Breakfast Cookies!

I spent some time thinking about what I'd like to make for Perry to take to work for breakfast.  He rarely has time to eat anything before he leaves the house and he usually takes some enzymes first thing and can't eat anything for 45 mins. after that.  So, I came up with this recipe today.  I think they turned out pretty well.  Perry had a taste test and said they're good.  They're not cooked, just dehydrated.  They're not raw though as the steel cut oats in them are cooked.  I wrote out the recipe as I went along, so here's what I did...

Deb's Healthy Breakfast Cookies

1 large Fuji apple, cored and coarsely chopped
35 soft pitted dates
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh ginger (we love ginger!)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
1 cup raw walnuts, coarsely chopped (I did this in the food processor)
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped (I did this in the food processor)
1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/3 cup goji berries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup oat bran
2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup steel cut oats, simmered until just tender
Dates and apples in the food processor
In a food processor, mix the dates and apple until the dates are a paste and the apple is finely chopped.  Transfer to a large bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well.  
Ginger, walnuts and cinnamon

The mixture before the rolled oats went in
Form into patties and place on plastic sheets on dehydrator trays. 
Dehydrate at 115F for 2 hours then flip over (directly on to trays) and dehydrate until desired texture (I'm guessing 3-8 hours depending on how dry/crunchy you would like them to be).  I dried them for about 3 hours or so after turning them over.
Makes 26-28 very generously-sized cookies. 

The Lean Green Bean