Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gourmet Meal In a Pinch

As a bit of a continuation from my last post, here are some more ideas for quick meals. These are some simple recipes that I've thrown together in a short amount of time, using leftovers or base recipes that I already had on hand! Growing up my mom called this "chums and black looks" ! Anyone else heard this term? Strange, isn't it?

With leftover fillings and noodles from making lasagna, I quickly thew together these cannelloni.


They're simply thin strips of zucchini (done on the mandolin), sundried tomato marinara mixed with sliced mushrooms (briefly marinated in tamari, lemon juice, and olive oil), and sunflower seed cheese mixed with chopped spinach - all rolled together with more tomato mushy sauce on top, garnished with fresh basil. Mmm...

This kale salad is really easy too - I looove this stuff. You can flavour it with whatever herbs and spices you want...and as it sits a few days, the flavours develop even more. So in this case, leftovers are ideal!

Herbed Kale Salad
1 large bunch kale
1 red bell pepper
1 orange or yellow bell pepper (I used half of each)
1 handful each of fresh basil, parsley, and dill,
1 large avocado
Juice of 1 small lemon
Himalayan salt, to taste

-De-stem the kale and roughly chop. Add a bit of salt and massage the kale until it takes on a "wilty/cooked-like" texture.

-Dice the peppers, and chop the herbs. Add to the kale.
-Mash the avocado and lemon juice into the salad with your hands! :)

Sandwiches are always great in a pinch too when you have bread on hand - you can keep dehydrated crackers, breads and pizza crusts in the freezer for a long time! Makes life easy. I like to serve sammies, and pizza to guests - especially ones who have never tried raw before. They usually have a different opinion of "raw" by the end of the meal :)

Here, Russell James' delicious sundried tomato bread (my name for it - it's acutally called Mediterranean Almond Bread) is spread with seed cheese and topped with tomato, lettuce, sprouts and "caramelized" onions - also a Russell recipe - from one of his pizzas. I'm not a fan of raw onions, but decided to try 'em since they're coated in yummy things and then dehydrated - I figured that would mute the "onion-ness". Hmmm....yeah not so much. Was I kidding myself? They're still onions! I could only handle a tiny bit...attempted to pawn them off on everyone around me...and I wasn't sure the compost would like them due to the olive oil and whatnot, so they ended up in the garbage.
Here's the bread recipe - I always use less herbs than he calls for, otherwise I find it too strong.


Mediterranean Almond Bread
Makes 18 'slices'

1/2c olive oil
1c sun dried tomatoes, loosely packed
3c almond flour*
1c flax meal
3 medium courgettes (zucchini), peeled & roughly chopped
2 apples, cored and roughly chopped
3T lemon juice
1t salt
3T Herbs De Provence or herbs of your choice
2T marjoram or herbs of your choice

- Process the olive oil, sun dried toms, courgettes, apples, lemon juice, salt and dried herbs until thoroughly mixed.- Add the almond flour and process again until a batter is formed.
- In a bowl mix the batter with the flax meal by hand. The reason you do this separately (not in the processor) is that you are likely to have too much mixture for the size if the processor at this point, and when you add the flax meal it will become quite heavy and sticky and overwork your machine.
- When mixed, process the whole batter in the machine again in small batches to achieve a light fluffy texture.- Divide the mixture in 2 and place on Paraflexx sheets, on dehydrator trays.
- Use an offset spatula (aka offset palette knife or cranked palette knife) to spread the mixture evenly to all 4 sides and corners of the Paraflexx sheet. If mixture is too sticky you can wet the spatula to make things easier. With a knife score the whole thing into 9 squares.
- Dehydrate for 2 hours and then remove the Paraflexx sheets by placing another dehydrator tray and mesh on top and invert so that your original sheet of bread is upside down. That will allow you to peel the Paraflexx sheet off and continue to dehydrate the underside of the bread.
- Dehydrate for approx 8 hours more (do this overnight so you're not tempted to eat it before it's ready) or until bread feels light in your hand. If the pieces don't fully come apart where you scored, use a knife to cut them.


Dessert is always part of the dinner equation around here, whether simple, like berries with crumbled dates/nuts on top, or something more gourmet like cake or pie. Ice cream is definately a favourite of mine, and while it does take some time to prepare, you can make a big batch and keep it in the freezer for a good while. Just pull it out about 20 mins before serving to let it soften slightly. Top it with whatever you're in the mood for and you've got an ice cream sundae!

This vanilla ice cream is a combo of water, cashews, vanilla bean, and agave - I topped it with chocolate sauce (the one in my Just Desserts ebook), bananas, and brownie chunks (nuts, cacao, and dates) - simply decadent!

Another great sweet treat I've made lately is Ani Phyo's Halva Thumbprint Cookies, as seen on The Rennegade Health Show. Yumm, they're yummy, and simple to make. The only time consuming part is rolling balls and putting the thumprint into them, because they start breaking apart a little.
Ani Phyo’s Halva Chia Thumbprint Cookies
Raspberry Sauce:

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1/4 cup pitted semi-soft Medjool dates

1/4 cup agave syrup (I kept this out)

1/4 cup water
Combine well in blender. Will keep for 3 days in refrigerator or a few weeks in freezer.

Cookies:
3/4 cup sprouted chia seed powder
1/2 cup tahini
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pitted semi-soft Medjool dates -chopped
2 tablespoons Raspberry Sauce

Combine dry ingredients with tahini and mix well. Add in agave, mix well. Add in dates and mix with your hands. I also added a little water to help them stay together. Roll dough into 9-12 balls place on sheet preferably lined with parchment paper. Use your thumb or end of wooden spoon to make an indentation into the center of each cookie. Fill each with generous amount of sauce.
To serve, chill in the refrigerator for 20 min. or more to firm up. Will keep for several days or many weeks stored separately from jam. Enjoy