Healthy Risotto

Three Grain Risotto

Stock:

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced (or 2 teaspoons roasted garlic)

1 leek, sliced thin crosswise

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

6 twists fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine, preferable organic (or 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard)

1 teaspoon tamari

2 cups soy milk 

2 tablespoons blanched almond flour

Heat oil at medium heat in sauce pan, add garlic add leaks right after.  Add mushrooms, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and bay leaf.  After 30 seconds, add the white wine, tamari and pepper.  Reduce the wine (if using Dijon, cook until leeks are tender).  Add the soy milk and almond flour, simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside ½ of this mixture.  

Grains:

1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed in strainer.

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil 1 ¼ cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Boil water, add rice, bring to boil, transfer to baking dish, cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes at 375 degrees.1 cup organic millet1 cup organic quinoaRinse grains in wire strainer together2 cups water1 teaspoon olive oil2 teaspoon sea salt

Bring water to a boil in sauce pan with the stock (1/2 of total), transfer into baking dish, add the quinoa and millet, cover with foil, bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven, toss with cooked wild rice and serve with a spoonful of stock on it. 

 

What to do with quinoa?

Quinoa Corn and Cracked Wheat Cakes

1 cup quinoa flour

1 cup medium grind corn meal

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups soy milk

2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice 

½ cup cracked wheat, soaked for 15 minutes with 2 cups hot water

1 ½  tablespoons baking powder

In a mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together, except baking powder.  Cover and let sit for 45 minutes (batter may be made the night before), add baking powder and make silver dollar size pancakes.

Cranberry Compote 

1 ½ cups evaporated cane juice

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cranberries

1 cup three berry juice

¼ cup maple syrup

Simmer all ingredients in a saucepan until cranberries start to break down.  Refrigerate overnight and heat to serve.  

Date Cream

2/3 cup date syrup

1 block firm silken tofu

Pinch of sea salt

Process until smooth.  Refrigerate overnight before serving.   

Mediterranean Eggplants

Mediterranean Eggplants 

5 Baby eggplants,

sliced in half lengthwise, soaked in lightly salted cold water for 20 minutes

 

2 cups ripe tomatoes, diced

1 cup red onion, sliced

1 cup red bell pepper, sliced in half strips

½ cup basil leaves

1 bay leaf

¼ cup Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

2 tablespoons capers

2 tablespoons garlic, sliced thin

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup dried black currants

¼ cup pine nuts

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

Strain eggplants, place in baking dish with the rest of ingredients, cover and bake at 400 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes.  Serve at any temperature.  

 

Vegetable Miso Ragout

Vegetable Miso Ragout

2 cups carrots, peeled and sliced in 1 inch slices

1 ½ cups celery, in 1 inch slices

2 cups shallots, peeled and halved

1½ cups blue potatoes, cut in 1 inch pieces

1 fresh bay leaf

3 fresh sage leaves, chopped

½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons tamari

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Cover and bake in 400 degree oven for 35 minutes

Gravy:

2 cups hot water

½ cup barley miso 2 tablespoons unbleached wheat flour ½ cup cool waterBring water to a oil and turn down to a simmer.  Add miso and mix in well.  In a separate cup, mix the flour and cool water.  Stir into miso water and, stirring frequently with a whip, allow to thicken for 4 to 5 minutes.  Fold into oven mixture and serve with brown rice or toasted whole grain bread. 

 

 

 

Food and Shelter

Discovery and anticipation have been the basis of my culinary journey.  From apprenticeship, following mentors, discovering my innate perception of taste, to entering the public arena of restaurants, the journey has been immensely rewarding.  After many years, I realized food was a language, a form of expression which transcends external perception and enables us to engage meaningfully with just about anyone.  After selling the restaurant, I experienced life outside of a fully stocked kitchen for the first time in almost 20 years.  Sure, there was time spent away from the restaurant kitchen, but it was always there in the background.  During the last 4 years of restaurant life, we lived in a historic restoration project, a 1924 Tudor home.  For a full year and a half we did not have a proper kitchen during renovation.  Of course, it was not so bad because of the restaurant kitchen.  Since then we have done a number of projects and, in each one, we have had to live without a kitchen inside and outside of the house. 

Finding quality food in restaurants and grocery stores is often difficult as the food is most often geared toward taste and presentation, not toward sustenance or vitality.  This trend is changing slightly as large companies recognize the profit to be made with health directed marketing.  With profit as the motive, good health and high quality are only used to market the food and shortcuts are present in most products.  We are fortunate to still have some small producers who maintain traditions of quality and who produce food using standards which pre-date the industrialization of the food industry.  We operated our restaurant, the Inn Season Cafe, this way (and it still operates this way through the current proprietor, my good friend and culinary associate Thomas Lasher). 

Restoring life to a home is similar to preparing a traditional meal.  First, there is a period of discovery, where we get to know the personality of the house.  This includes the way it is designed and built along with who lived there and how they cared for the home.  With traditional cuisine, one must learn the cultural attitude of the cooks and the reason for each dish, as food was the primary souce of preventative medicine before the age of drug related medicine.

Second, we often see when home prepared food is not readily available, most people throw caution to the wind and depend on commercially prepared (often fast food) products to nourish themselves.  So, during renovation and construction, the body goes through deprivation and de-construction.  When restaurants such as Inn Season Cafe are not readily available it is a real challenge to have good food without the facility of a kitchen.  This a challenge I relish and have enjoyed. 

As a chef, everyday we had to adjust to unpredictable circumstances in food, labor and facility.  While under construction, things like parchment paper, a blow torch and disposables come in handy.  In the latest project, we were able to connect a drawer fridge and a convection/microwave oven.  The convection oven allowed me to roast, bake and reheat.  The refrigerator space was limited, so shopping was combined with runs to the lumber yard, a reminder of time spent in India and Greece where procuring food was a daily event.

Recipes included here are from this time of easy and quick meals prepared to nourish in between skim coating walls, stripping paint and finishing wood surfaces.  These recipes are not refined and the instructions may be inadequate, therefore we invite comments to correct any inconsistencies.  Enjoy!