Garlic Shrimp on cauliflower mash

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A bit fuzzy 😦

Sugar Soil sowed the seed of this recipe a while ago but for some reason – possibly trying to work out the difference between prawn and shrimp – I stumbled across some other similar recipes that I amalgamated…sadly, and I’m normally pretty good at this now, I didn’t note the original sources….

I’m amazed at the broad range of things that we can do with the ever so humble cauliflower – and I need to pre-make a batch of cauliflower buffalo bites for late night munchie attacks – and this one is another quick and easy winner…

Ingredients:

Cauliflower Mash:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups Vegetable Stock

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons of coconut butter

2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary

1/3 cup of vegetarian Parmesan ‘cheese’

Garlic Shrimp:

500 grams of raw shrimp, shelled and de-veined

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 slices bacon

1/3 Cup red wine

1/2 onion, chopped

1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes

 a pinch of dried oregano

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Directions:

Place the cauliflower florets in a medium sized saucepan with chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to medium and cover, allowing to cook for 15-20 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower is very tender and easily mashed.

Once the cauliflower is tender and cooked through, pour off any excess stock that remains and reserve.

Using a food processor, puree the cauliflower with the coconut oil.

Add the parmesan ‘cheese’, rosemary, salt and pepper and mix well.

If needed, add a drizzle of the reserved broth if the cauliflower is too dense. Set aside.

In a large saute pan, cook the bacon until it’s crispy.

Set the bacon aside on paper towels until cool, then chop into small pieces.  Set aside.

In the bacon drippings, add the onion and cook over medium high heat until softened.

Add the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and oregano, and saute for about a minute, stirring frequently.  Stir in the red wine.

Cook a minute or two, then add the shrimp.

Cook, stirring frequently to turn the shrimp, until the shrimp are pink and opaque on both sides.

Place the shrimp and sauce over the mashed cauliflower and top with crumbled bacon.

Season with salt and pepper and garnish with fresh oregano.

It’s pretty hard to go wrong with this one. It makes enough for two decent-size servings with enough of the mash left over for another meal.

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This is the left over mash the following night, with rissoles made from some left-over quorm and a pack of vegetarian mince I bought on a whim from the Taumarunui New World. I mixed the remaining bacon into the mash before I reheated it…

Green Take 2

via WordPress Daily Prompt Jolly

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

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A second take on green, revisiting no-cheese cheesecake #4, Nadia Lim’s avacado, lime and coconut ‘cheese’cake

I’ve pretty perfected my no-bake cheesecake base, adapted from this blueberry and beetroot cheesecake:

1 1/2 cups of coconut almond meal leftover from homemade almond coconut ‘milk’ production. You could make the meal directly by blending a cup each of raw almond and coconut flakes.

3/4 of a cup of dates, chopped, optional to top up to a cup with raisins

1 tablespoon of coconut oil, melted to a liquid

A pinch of salt

Next:

Put the meal in the food processor and blend, slowly adding the dates until the mix turns a deeper brown as the oils mix with the meal.

Add the coconut oil and salt and blend.

Pour the base mix into a prepared (I use a baking paper base) springform baking pan.

The topping is dead easy. You’ll need:

5 medium firm ripe avocados

1 cup of lime juice (I use the bottled stuff as the limes up here are poor dry things with hardly any juice

a pinch of salt

1 cup of coconut cream (I skimped as I only had a 150ml can)

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1/2 a cup of maple syrup

1/4 cup of vanilla sugar (I have this big jar of it that I Hardly use because it’s , like, y’know, sugar)

2 tablespoons of gelatin (actually used closed to 1 1/2 as the box wasn’t quite as full it it made out)

2 tablespoons of cold water

3 tablespoons of boiling water

Then:

Place all the ingredients, except the gelatin and water, in the food processor and blend until the mixture is smooth.

Mix the gelatin powder with cold water and leave it to swell for a few minutes. Add the boiling water and mix well to completely dissolve the gelatin (make sure there are no little lumps!).

Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the food processor and blend with the avocado mixture until it’s all very smooth.

Without too much mussing around, pour the topping mix into the springform pan and spread into an even layer. If you muss around too much, the topping will strat to set in the food processor.

Place the pan in the fridge for a couple of hours until ready to serve.

Nadia Lim recommends a berry coulis to go withe ‘cheese’cake. I made one by blending a mix of strawberries (tis the season), blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. I’m not particularly sold on this as it is a tart topping on an already quite tart ‘cheese’cake – I think cream, whipped or straight, and vanilla ice cream make for a better accompaniment for this…

This is a very simple and very fast ‘cheese’cake to knock up. Depending on the availability of avocados, it may be a bit pricey…not tested but the original recipe says it can be frozen so there is scope to knock a few up when ‘cados are cheaper and freeze them til later in the year…

Is almond milk a healthy option?

via Niki Bezzant: Is almond milk a healthy option? – NZ Herald

This article in the NZ Herald purports to challenge almond milk as a healthy food option but does it really?

The first point it makes is not health-related at all. Ok, so almond, soy, coconut etc etc etc milks are not really milks in the strictest biologic sense…even though we tend to use them in much the same way and these not-milks are probably healthy that the lightest of lite milks that have had most of the goodness scrubbed out of them. That bastion of common sense, the EU,  has said that “…plant-based products can no longer be sold…using terms such as milk, butter and cheese…” Think about that as you spread ETA peanut no-longer-really-butter on your toast in the morning, or as you explain to your kids that the PC Police require to now ask for peanut not-butter and jelly sandwiches…

calcium.JPG“…we could be misled into believing almond milk is as good as cow’s milk, from a nutrition point of view..” Or we might not be…the only concern really raised here is the low hanging fruit of calcium content, or more correctly, the red herring of calcium content. A balanced diet will include other sources of calcium like:

1) Raw Milk
1 cup: 300 mg (30% DV)

2) Kale (cooked)
1 cup: 245 mg (24% DV)

3) Sardines (with bones)
2 ounces: 217 mg (21% DV)

4) Yogurt or Kefir
6 oz: 300 mg (30% DV)

5) Broccoli
1 ½ cup cooked: 93 mg (9% DV)

6) Watercress
1 cup: 41 mg (4% DV)

7) Cheese
1 oz: 224 mg (22% DV)

8) Bok Choy
1 cup:74 mg (7% DV)

9) Okra
1 cup: 82 mg (8% DV)

10) Almonds
1 oz: 76 mg (8% DV)

The Herald, and the Healthy Food Guide staff writing for it, might be more concerned about the low health value of commercial almond milk and promoting homemade almond milk as a simple alternative. It is so easy to make, with far higher almond content, that healthy shoppers should be avoiding the commercial tetrapaks and stampeding the nuts shelves. I usually buy my raw almonds from Bin Inn in Taupo as they often have them on special or, for bulk, check to see if Penelope @ Happy and Healthy has any deals on…

The other advantage of DIY almond (or other nut-based) milk is that you have all the leftover meal with which you can do wondrous things including bliss balls, cheesecake bases, cookies etc. I toss a cup into my muesli when I’m making a fresh batch and also use it in lieu of bran flakes for wholemeal bread.

The environmental concerns raised in the ‘article’ are also not health-related. Water (mis)management issues in California are related to far more complex matters than the growth of almonds. Again another, red herring under the guise of a health issue. If this really concerns you, then buy Aussie almonds but – not mentioned in the article – parts of Australia also experience similar water management challenges so the PC brigade may wish to check first so that they can purchase conscience-free.

The ‘article is also quite biased in that it does not discuss any of the potentially unhealthy aspects of dairy food – one might wonder who paid for this ‘article’? In a society apparently so concerned about national levels of obesity, it doesn’t hurt to cut back on dairy intake. That was a tip I was given was back in the 90s but only tried a couple of years ago at the beginning of my green journey . Dropping my dairy consumption right back was the biggest factor allowing me to lose 20kg in 3 months without any great effort. Reducing ‘whites’ (white sugar, rice, bread, etc) and reducing the number of processing stages between the raw material and the final product were just supporting acts…

I’m not entirely ‘off’ dairy. I’ll occasionally have an ice cream or make a milk-based coffee at work and am happy to use cream in recipes where there is no practical green alternative. But everything in its place. Now, if I have dairy products too often, I just feel bloated and yuk…I have a balanced diet and so am not lacking any of the good things that come with dairy…

It annoys me that the NZ Herald and Healthy Food Guide continue to punt out this one-sided propaganda under the guise of health news. The facts are that if you don’t want milk/dairy and you have a balanced diet, then give the cow a miss…

Cauliflower Buffalo Bites

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The lowly cauliflower strikes again into the hallowed territory of binge TV snack food…I’ve been unable to source the original recipe and there are lots of variations on this theme out there in the culinary googleverse…

Two hours before starting this, I put a chunk of venison steak into the sous vide.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower chopped into florets

1/2 cup of milk (any unsweetened kind or a not-milk will do)

1/2 cup of water

3/4 cup of flour

2 teaspoons of garlic powder

2 teaspoons of onion powder

1 teaspoon of paprika

1/4 teaspoon of sea salt

1/4 teaspoon of ground pepper

Directions 

Preheat your oven to 230 Celcius.

Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, water, milk, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, salt and pepper.

Add the cauliflower florets and mix until well-coated – make sure you get the mix well into the florets themselves .

Spread evenly onto the cookie sheets so the florets are not touching .

Bake for 15- 20 minutes , flipping once.

Remove from the oven and set aside.

 Wing sauce

2 tablespoons of butter

3 tablespoons of vinegar

1 tablespoons of water

A pinch of salt

1/2 cup of your favourite hot sauce (I used some old chili sauce that had been in the fridge a long time)

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter, hot sauce, vinegar, water, and salt.

Add the baked cauliflower and toss to coat with the sauce, again making sauce the mix gets rights into the florets.

Spread the florets evenly onto the cookie sheets and pop back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes until crispy (flipping once).

Don’t get some engrossed in The Punisher that you forget about them and they come out slightly scorched.

Let sit for a few minutes before serving.

I took the venison out of the sous vide and sliced it into chunks. If I had thought about it at the time, I could have crumbed them and give them a quick sizzle in a hot skillet…of even foregone the crumbs and gone straight to the skillet. This would have added a nice golden tinge to the meat…

I served them together as finger food on the same plate – see fuzzy pic above – very filling and very spicy in a good way…one head of cauli would make a decent snack serving for two people…

Another way of tricking your kids into veges…

 

Slow Cooked Red Wine Mushroom Soup

Another Jen Rice creation…I saw this one in my feed a few weeks and read enough to include the makings in my next supermarket shop. Since, it’s just been a case of waiting for a day off as I get dinner supplied at work now – I have a decent breakfast and don’t usually make a bid deal about lunch so other opportunities are a little lacking…

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The soup I made following the recipe…it’s very simple and would be tough to get wrong. I’m kinda over having bread as my only side for soup meals so cast the Google net to see what alternatives I could find.

I found mention of using vege burgers as a side to soups and that reminded me of  this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie . The only change I made was to sub kidney beans for the pinto beans and to dribble my last remnants of block cheese over the top – wasn’t very much so it looks a littler snotty…sorry… I also referred to this site for some tips on cooking quinoa

The recipe make about a dozen of the ‘biscuits’. I though that I would dip them as I would with bread but this soup isn’t thick enough for decent dipping. I ate them as a side: quite tasty and very filling…worked well with the soup which is very rich, tasty and filling.

A simple, tasty dinner with the only time-consuming aspect being the slow cooker phase of the soup…add in a few chunks of beef and this would be an even chunkier soup or the makings of an equally fine stew…

 

MHAW Photo-a-day Challenge – Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

…health…but what sort of image depicts health…?

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The Challenge

Mental Health Awareness Week in New Zealand is 9-15 October this year. Each year, the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand runs and sponsors a number of awareness activities.

The MHAW Photo Challenge runs from 1-15 October  Each day participants post an image that is their take on that day’s theme:

Oct. 1 – My view
Oct. 2 – Gratitude
Oct. 3 – Light
Oct. 4 – Water
Oct. 5 – Small treasures
Oct. 6 – Nature indoors
Oct. 7 – Bush walk
Oct. 8 – Art
Oct. 9 – Pop of colour
Oct. 10 – MHAW Lockout
Oct. 11 – Papatūānuku (Mother Earth)
Oct. 12 – Creature
Oct. 13 – Spring
Oct. 14 – Love my backyard
Oct. 15 – Nature is key to…

#MHAWNZ

Sautéed Honey Mustard Cabbage

This sautéed honey mustard cabbage bowl is a perfect detox breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cabbage is not only insanely good for you but it simply tastes amazing as well.

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Another winner from Jen Rice’s Sugar Soil stable…I’ve included the whole recipe here because I’ve had trouble getting it to show on the Sugar Soil site…very simple, very fast, very yum…

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of apple cider

1 tablespoon of mustard

3 tablespoon of olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons of honey

1/2 head of cabbage chopped into bite-size pieces.

An onion chopped

One large egg

One avocado diced

Directions

Combine the vinegar, mustard, 1 tablespoon olive oil, honey and apple cider together and set aside.

Over a medium heat add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cabbage and the onion to a skillet and sauté for 5 minutes.

Pour the mustard sauce over the cabbage and mix well, turning the heat to low and cook for about 5-7 more minutes.

While you are cooking the cabbage, fry or poach your egg in another pan.

Place the sautéed cabbage in a bowl with the egg and avocado on top.

Easy as an easy thing…reversing the quantities of honey and mustard will give you the same less sweet and with more of a mustard ‘bite’…

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Yesterday’s leftovers on black rice that I soaked overnight before cooking this morning…I used a very small pan to poach the egg and then realised that I don’t have a scoop small enough to  slide the egg from the pan…hence the semi-deconstructed look…

Of the two variations, I think I prefer the more mustardy version with rice: cabbage, mustard and honey for flavour, avocado of textural contrast and the rice for bulk.

As I type, I notice that I forgot to do the avocado this morning…a mission now for whatever tomorrow’s breakfast will be…

A nutty two in one…three even…

I think this idea first fell from a recipe that popped up in my or a friend’s Facebook feed for no bake cranberry energy bites from Life Made Sweeter

I liked the sound of it – ‘cept the peanut butter part. Almonds I’m reserving for coconut almond milk: it’s getting warmer here and porridge has dropped on the breakfast menu (pending more snow!) in lieu of muesli, which uses more milk.

Looking at the nuts available, sunflower seeds looked promising and a quick Google led me to this recipe at Pretty Prudent. It is so simple. The only crucial ingredient not listed in the recipe is patience: depending on your food processor, it may take a while for the powdered nuts to cream into butter

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Not yet..keep going

….just keep the faith, follow the directions and it will turn out OK. Three cups of seeds = about two cups of sunbutter.

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It’s fairly solid but spreads with care…more oil would make it creamier but compete with the sunflower seed flavour…the solution, as offered in the comments on the original recipe, may be to use sunflower oil for the creaming…

Keeping the butter in the fridge also contributes to the harder consistency and I’m wondering if my Mad Millie Ceramic Butter Keeper will keep it cool to enough to stop it going off too early but warm enough to be more spreadable…

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Why doesn’t someone invent a straight banana…?

Fresh banana and sunbutter on herb bread toast has been part of breakfast the last two mornings. Very filling with an interesting combination of sweet banana and stick nut…nice…but I would probably go for it more if the sunbutter was a little more creamy and a little less sticky – always my one big objection to most peanut butter…I may sub the sunbutter in instead of peanut butter in one of our peanut rice dishes to see how it goes…

So, getting back on track for the energy bites…again a recipe so simple…just follow the directions….too easy…

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My only deviations from the original recipe were subbing in the sunbutter and using almond coconut meal (leftover from almond coconut milk) in lieu of coconut…if you’ve got, I say, use it…

As writ, the recipe is good for about 20-25 bites. They store well in the fridge and are tasty and very filling: ideal for fending off attacks of the munchies…

Next time around, I will double the dried fruit – not necessarily cranberries – and use normal rolled oats instead of the quick cook oats – I just don’t think they add a lot of value – and/or I may sub in a not-oat-based alternative…not because I am particularly concerned about the gluten thing but because, again, I can…

And there you go, an easy three-fer….

Salmon with Spicy Tomato Rice

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Spur of the moment invention dinner…

As part of my green journey, I have been slowly reducing the number of production steps between me and the raw materials. Last week, I used the last can of tomatoes from the pantry and resolved henceforth to only use fresh tomatoes where previously I would have used the canned variety.

Obviously this means a little more planning ahead due to the shelf life of fresh tomatoes v their tinny competition. So the tomatoes I bought last we were starting to scream for attention and tonight was the night. I wanted to do something a bit different and also empty out the freezer a little more – still don’t have much space for frozen soups and TV dinners after giving up the chest freezer in the garage.

I took some salmon steaks out and only once they were committed to defrosting did I stop to consider how tomatoes might figure in tonight’s dining experience. I got some ideas from Google, selecting this one for Mexican tomato rice and beans from Fine Foods as my base.

It looked like – and was – a quick cook so I got the rice on first. Now that the last of the white rice is gone, it’s all brown from here on – I’m using a mix of long and short grain – with black held in reserve for special occasions. The spicy tomato bit has this in it:

  • 1 teaspoon of oil (grapeseed tonight)
  • 6 close of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 generous tablespoon of Jalapenos, also finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of black salt (the colour doesn’t really mean anything)
  • 2 teaspoons of cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1 can of red kidney beans (also the last can)
  • 440 grams of fresh tomatoes, blended
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of coriander powder (will use crushed seeds next time)

I started by frying the garlic and jalapeno in the oil til the flavours were rally strong – about a minute – before stirring in the spices and slat. After a couple of minutes add the tomato and beans, followed by the herbs. If it looks a tad dry, add about half a cup of water (I rinsed  the bean tin into the pan).

Once this is simmering away, I added the salmon steaks, and let it all simmer away until the rice was done.

Nice a simple. Hot and spicy. Brought out a good sweat on a cold wind wet night…

Took out some more fish to do again with the leftovers tomorrow…