Simple Pole Bean Pleasures

Every year I plant a yummy heirloom pole bean and it never disappoints. I actually don’t remember the name…I think it is called “Rattlesnake.” I always go by the picture on the seed package…a beautiful, purple spotted pole bean. It recently started going crazy so I whipped up a quick and easy mid week salad, and here it is for your sharing and noshing enjoyment.

heirloom pole bean & potato salad with tarragon & fennel seed dressing

1 handful fresh heirloom pole beans (about 30 beans) (feel free to substitute blue lake or other green beans)
6-8 heirloom baby potatoes (or baby red potatoes)
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tbsp. citrus juice (I used tangerine but you can use grapefruit or orange, or any other sweet citrus fruit)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp. chopped garlic
1/2 tsp. cider vinegar Read More

Another Shoutout for Figs

Okay, I warned you that there would be more than one post for figs this week. Here is a very simple and quick way to enjoy figs on a lazy summer Sunday. Even the cashew cheese is a “quick” version that does not require fermenting or any other drawn out process. The figs used in this recipe were Turkish figs, which have gorgeous striped outer skin, but you can use any tree ripened fig. I hope you get an opportunity to enjoy this soon.

seared Chinese 5-spice figs with cashew cheese

Fresh ripe figs, as many as you want to enjoy
Chinese 5 Spice
Cashew or your favorite soft cheese (cashew cheese recipe provide below)

Cut the figs in half lengthwise and discard the stem if it is present. Sprinkle a little bit of the Chinese 5 spice on the open side of each of the figs. On a hot skillet, sear the figs, open side first, until the seared side starts to become caramelized. Using a clean, thin spatula, very carefully scoop under the fig and flip it over. The juices of the fig are going to want to stick to the skillet so be sure to be as careful and thorough as possible when flipping, so that you still have some nice spiced coating on the top. Sear the other side of the figs for just a minute and then move over to a plate. Don’t cook the other side for very Read More

A Welcome Hug for Figs

Warning: Fig season is here! Which means that I may post more than one recipe with figs over the next week or two. Since figs are one of those fruits that you simply can’t find when they’re out of season, just enjoy and soak it up while you can! I’ll start with this easy mid-week salad that can practically serve as a weeknight meal, a lunch, or a side dish with something off the back yard grill. These figs were given to me by my neighbor, artist Bill Wheeler. The roasted yams and onions seem to give the figs and kale a nice caramelized hug…yes I said hug!! You can even roast the yams on your barbecue if you want, for some extra smoky flavor.

roasted yam salad with kale & figs

2 medium yams, cut into salad sized cubes (peeling optional, I don’t peel mine)
1/2 medium onion, diced
1-2 tbsp. olive oil
3 cups fresh kale, julienned very fine
8-10 fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths
Chia seeds for garnish (optional)
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar Read More

Dessert with an Ayurvedic Angle

A while back I met Navaz Nooshin of Welmor Enterprises. Navaz imports Sweet Wellness Organic Jaggery from India. She gave me a couple different jaggery products to try and I am pleased to be sharing my discovery here with you. Navaz is passionate about educating people on the health benefits of Jaggery, which is basically a sugar cane product that has been around for centuries. Jaggery is made from organic unrefined sugarcane juice. The juice after extraction and removal of external impurities is slowly cooked on a low flame until it reaches a soft pulpy caramel consistency. It hence retains all the vitamins, minerals and fiber. In addition, all the polyphenols and flavonoids are kept intact giving jaggery its medicinal properties. And it is known for having ayurvedic benefits as well. So for me, if you are going to have some sugar, why not get a minimally processed and more nutritious version? The consistency and color of jaggery may take some getting used to. It does not grind down the same way refined sugars do. It is very moist, and even the “powder” that I received from Navaz was more like little moist morsels of sugary goodness. Navaz explains that the consistency can vary, and that was just the condition of the jaggery I received. I didn’t let anything about the consistency stop me from exploring this new sweet pal in my kitchen. I have enjoyed it a lot in warm almond milk beverages, tried using it in a mango chutney, and have sweetened a cup of tea or two, all with some success. But I really wanted to bake something with it. After giving it some time and keeping my imagination open, I found a terrific role for the jaggery powder that couldn’t have been more perfect. In this healthier version of a classic comfort cake, the jaggery contributes to a perfect, caramelized pineapple topping, but with some added nutrition! I look forward to exploring this healthy sweetener more and keeping you posted along the way.

jaggery caramelized pineapple upside down cake with macadamia cream

2-3 T melted coconut oil
1/3 cup organic jaggery powder
1 16-oz. bag frozen pineapple chunks, or about 1 1/3 cups fresh pineapple cut up.
1 1/2 cups gluten free all purpose baking mix (I used Montana Gluten Free)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup coconut sugar Read More