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How to cook taro root using a pressure cooker

This simple recipe explains how to cook taro with a pressure cooker. If you don’t have a pressure cooker you can boil it, but it takes much longer 1-2 hours. You must be careful to fully cook all parts of the taro plant because it contains calcium oxalate. This will make your mouth feel numb, itchy, scratchy and very uncomfortable, with possibly worse side effects if you eat too much or are very sensitive.

Taro, or known in Hawaii as Kalo, is an amazing plant. The roots, stems and leaves are all edible and have unique distinct character.  It is also extremely nutritionally dense. Compared to a potato, the taro root has more fiber and is a good source of calcium, potassium, and Vitamins C, E and Bs as well as trace minerals.

Taro is most known in Hawaii for Poi, a slightly fermented paste of cooked and mashed taro. However, taro is used to make many more things. You can dehydrate it and make flour, you can eat the steam stems as a vegetable, and the cooked greens are versatile in curries, wrapped around meat, in soups etc. This staple crop for tropical climates cannot be over estimated.

Recipe for how to cook taro with a pressure cooker

 

Equipment: Pressure cooker and steam basket to go with it.

Steps:

  1. Wash and scrub taro. I like to peel mine before I cook it because I feel like the scruffy skin would clog my pressure cooker. However, many others like to scrub it real good and clean the skin off after it is cooked.
  2. Cut into fist size pieces
  3. Place steam basket in pressure cooker
  4. Fill water up to right below the steam basket
  5. Place taro into basket and secure the lid
  6. Bring to pressure (you will notice the steam start coming out)
  7. Reduce to medium heat and cook 30-45 minutes depending on how much you have in there and how big the pieces are.
  8. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 or more minutes
  9. Release the pressure and wait until all steam has been released.
  10. Open the pressure cooker, the taro should be soft, showing a few cracks, and also be easy to slice with a knife.

There are so many ways to prepare taro. We just started harvesting them on our farm and have done little experimenting. One easy way to prepare cooked taro is just to slice it and fry it in a shallow pan with 2 tablespoons or so of oil. Just add a little salt and pepper to each side and fry each side until crispy (about 3 minutes on each side). Another recipe that we’ve made several times is our taro millet vegetable burger recipe.

 

I also found these recipes while doing a few searches.

http://www.quericavida.com/recipes/taro-root-fritters/d9c2d0c4-9bb5-4d14-959c-1f1a1a8203e4

http://raygrogan2-ivil.tripod.com/tarogrowcookeat/id9.html

http://www.kumuainafarm.com/taro-kalo-burgers/

If you like eating tropical starches that are easy to grow and gluten free- you may also like breadfruit. Here is a link to my breadfruit pancakes.

Ulu
Ulu (breadfruit) pancakes
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Italian Almond Pear Cake (gluten-free)

I found out about this classic Italian Almond Pear Cake recipe when asked to make a cake for my Grandmother’s 93rd birthday this past September. My brother had just harvested several pounds of pears from a tree my Italian grandfather planted many moons ago. The unique part about this recipe is how little flour it uses and how the pears are placed on top of the cake batter, allowing the cake to rise around the pears. Many recipes you will find online for this type of cake call for a springform cake pan. In my experience this is unnecessary. Just butter and flour your typical 9″ diameter cake pan. This recipe is simple and easy to throw in the oven and impress your guests.

Recipe for Italian Almond Pear Cake

Equipment: Hand mixer or standup mixer, cake pan

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup granulated cane sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or ground almonds
  • 1/3 cup flour or  an all purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • ½  teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 ripe pairs, peeled and cored and cut into large pieces (halved if possible)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • powdered sugar for garnish
  • sliced almonds

Steps:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Butter and flour a cake pan and set aside
  3. Cream butter and sugar
  4. Add the eggs one at a time
  5. Then add vanilla to the butter, sugar, egg mixture.
  6. Next, in separate bowl mix the flour, spices, and baking powder
  7. Then add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.
  8. Once it is uniformly incorporated spread evenly into the bottom of the floured cake pan, it should only take up an inch or less
  9. Arrange pears on top of the batter, as the cake rises it will rise around the pears
  10. Bake in oven for 30 minutes and remove, add the almonds on top. Place back in oven for another 5-10 minutes until knife or tooth pick come out clean.
  11. Let it cool, remove from pan and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

inspired by:

If you like this kind of recipe you may also like :

Banana Brownies

Healthy Carrot Cake with macadamia nut frosting

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Cauliflower Cheddar Soup (no milk or cream)

I developed this healthy cauliflower cheddar soup recipe while visiting the mainland. Like so many of my recipes, Adam bugged me for months to make him Cauliflower cheese soup. I finally came through for him. This recipe comes out savory and super creamy. I don’t drink milk or use cream so unlike many recipes for this type of soup I didn’t add any extra dairy beyond the cheese. This soup is great for cheesy soup lovers who cannot tolerate the lactose in many types of cheese but can tolerate cheddar. It is also gluten-free and can be prepared vegetarian.

And yes, I know first hand that cauliflower isn’t easy to grow in the tropics. However, some talented farmers and gardeners are able pull off small crops and small heads in parts of the islands. But in the store they are largely unaffordable costing up to $10 for a head of organic cauliflower.  Hopefully our talented farmers will get better at growing and we’ll be able to enjoy more of them in Hawaii.

This soup goes great with toasty or fresh bread. Try my easy recipe for rosemary garlic focaccia bread or grandpa’s sourdough bread recipe

If you like this type of recipe you may also like:

winter squash bisque (gluten-free, dairy free, vegan and delicious)

coconut red pepper and squash soup (dairy-free, gluten free and vegan)

 

Recipe for cauliflower cheddar soup

.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Equipment: Regular blender or immersion blender

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 2-3 potatoes peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 quart chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Sauté cauliflower, onion, potatoes, garlic in olive oil, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, add a little more oil as necessary to prevent sticking
  2. Once the onions are soft, add broth (should just cover the veggies) and bring to a boil until potatoes are tender (15-30 minutes depending on how small they are chopped).
  3. Let the soup cool until it safe to put in blender and then blend on high until creamy and uniform.
  4. Return to pot (rinse it out first) and heat on low
  5. Add cheddar and stir until combined
  6. Test it and add more salt and pepper.

This recipe was inspired by a few posted recipe’s including

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3327/cauliflower-cheese-soup

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cauliflower-cheese-soup

 

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Banana Brownies

These banana brownies are a marriage between my oat flour banana bread recipe and chewy chocolate brownies. Bananas are so abundant here on Hawaii Island. They are also extremely versatile and especially great with chocolate. This recipe features coconut oil, maple syrup, and oat flour instead of wheat, butter, and refined sugar. It uses organic cocoa powder instead of processed chocolate chips. These are a guilt free dessert. Eat em up! Use a little less oat flour if you’ like them to come out more gooey than cake like, try substituting a different flour if you’d like a smoother brownie mouth feel.

Banana Brownie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup liquid coconut oil
  • 3 cups mashed banana
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla2016-11-19-15-11-18
  • 4 eggs beaten
  • 1 2/3 cups oat flour (ground oatmeal)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • macadamia nuts for topping

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Oil 9 x 11 baking pan
  3. mash and measure bananas. I use a immersion (stick)
    blender and
    its done in 30 seconds. You can leave some chunks if you want the banana chunk vibe
  4. in a bowl combine all the ingredients starting with the liquid (oil, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, banana).
  5. Then add the dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, cocoa powder and oat flour)
  6. Mix well and pour into pan
  7. Top with optional chopped macadamia nuts.
  8. Bake in oven for 25 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or cool!

2016-11-19-15-10-35

 

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Grandpa Piasek’s sourdough bread

dont forget the egg wash grandpa
I’m writing to you from the Catskills New York where I am on vacation from Hawaii and spending a few days hanging at my momma’s house with Grandpa Piasek. Of course, without a warning this morning Grandpa began making sourdough bread.

I was able to squeeze this recipe out of him while he effortlessly mixed the ingredients together, shaped the bread and left it to rise. He truly makes it seem so EASY. It’s scary that probably 99% of people believe it is too hard or too much work to make your own bread.

This sourdough recipe is as exact as I could get from a 88 year old man who has been baking his whole life. Grandpa truly has the practice of just knowing when enough flour, water, yeast, rising, and baking is truly enough.

Grandpa’s sourdough bread recipe

yield:

4 small round loaves

special equipment:

kitchen aid type mixer with dough hook, parchment paper and baking sheets

Ingredients :

  • about 1-1.5 oz dried sourdough starter (granual) or make your own (a little water, flour, and a little yeast – thick soup until it doubles, add more flour until it doubles again ). Grandpa says that “the very best thing is to make your own starts – if you are in a commercial bakery it is hard to have the time but if you are at home there is plenty of time. it’s a 3 day procedure”
  • about 2 and 1/2 pounds of flour (5-6 cups flour total)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of margarine or shortening or oil
  • 3 cups of filtered water – maybe a little bit more.
  • 5 ounces of wet yeast or 1 1/2 – 2 ounces dry yeast

Steps:

  1. add oil/shortening, starter, and wet yeast  in kitchen aid type mixer with dough hook.
    wet yeast picture
    this is a block of wet yeast

    the yeast mix

  2. Add about 5 cups of the flour
  3. Turn on the lowest setting slowly add water (2 1/2 to 3 cups) until dough comes together around hook and starts to become elastic.
  4. Continue to knead with dough hook, monitor and and add a little more flour as needed (up 1 one more cup). The dough should start looking smooth and elastic – about 10 minutes on slow. Add a little oil to bottom of the bowl to keep it from sticking. Transfer it to an oiled bowl
  5. As the bread is kneaded to heat the oven to 400 2016-09-26-10-29-23degrees F.
  6. Let rise for 20 minutes or so in bow
  7. Divide into 4 equal parts, shape into balls, knead/roll each part of dough lightly in circles until it forms a ball.
  8. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and cover with (clean) kitchen towels.  Let rise again for another 30 minutes or so in a warm spot. If you want you can beat an egg and give it a light egg wash before baking
  9. Baking time (at 400 degree F) is typically 30-40 minutes but it depends on loaf size, preferences for soft versus crisp bread and individual oven variation.
  10. Enjoy fresh and warm preferably with Grandpa.

2016-09-26-13-09-25

 

 

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Coconut red pepper and squash soup

Smooth and savory, this recipe has the slightest sweetness from the rep pepper, carrot and squash and a tiny bit of texture from the fresh coconut. This coconut red pepper squash soup is packed with beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin C, along with healthy fats from coconut and fiber from all the veggies.

This recipe features fresh coconut flesh, not the creamy coconut milk or the sweetened coconut flakes. Fresh coconut flesh. Coconuts come from the cocos nucifera palm and grow very well in tropical low-mid elevations. One tree can produce as up to 150 nuts per year. One medium size nut and its water can provide an average sized person with almost all of the daily required vitamins, minerals, and calories. Coconuts are truly a super food.

Coconuts have a lot of good fat, some carbohydrate, proteins and fiber. One 100g piece of mature coconut meat has: 354 Calories, 9 grams of fiber, 33.5 grams of total fat, 3.3 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates.  For example,  coconuts contain copper, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium, and zinc, potassium. Furthermore, coconuts are also rich in B-vitamins: folates, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine. Additionally,  coconut contains Lauric acid, which increases good-HDL cholesterol and protect the arteries by preventing blood vessel blockages.

On our farm we already have 6 coconut palms fruiting and we are getting ready to plant 35 more dwarf coconut trees. Stayed tuned for many many future fresh coconut recipes.

Coconut red pepper squash soup recipe

Servings: 6, 8 ounce cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 small winter squash (about 2 cups cooked flesh)
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 large red pepper or several small ones
  • 1/2 onion
  • flesh of 1 young coconut (about 1/4 in thick) or 1/2 coconut
  • 6 cups of water
  • salt and pepper

Steps:

  1. Cook squash and remove about 2 cups of flesh
  2. Then, add squash and roughly chopped veggies (save coconut for last)
  3. Boil the soup until all veggies are tender, 20-30 minutes
  4. Let cool, add salt and pepper
  5. Once the soup is a bit cooler, add coconut and use immersion blender or regular blender.

1 serving is 8 oz, or 1 cup.

red-pepper-coconut-squash-soup

 

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Blueberry banana smoothie with chia seeds

This simple and creamy blueberry banana smoothie is packed with antioxidants, protein, fiber and healthy fats.  It is an excellent substitution for your afternoon cookie or candy bar. It is also a good mid-morning treat.

The blueberry banana smoothie recipe is great because it’s easy to keep all of the ingredients on hand. We buy buckets of Artisana raw organic coconut butter which last for 15-18 months from the date of manufacturing. Additionally, blueberries and bananas can be stored in your freezer, frozen blueberries are good for 6-8 months and bananas for 2-3 months. Dried chia seeds have a shelf life of 2-4 years.

I am featuring chia seeds in this recipe, but I actually use them almost daily in my green smoothies. We buy Nutiva organic chia seeds (120z) bags at Costco (several at a time). Mostly, I add them for extra fiber and protein. It’s ideal to soak the chia seeds in water for at least 10 minutes before blending. Soaking them helps to sprout the chia seed adding in their digestion making the nutrients more bioavailable.

Two tablespoons (or 1 ounce) of chia seeds has about 130 calories, 8 grams of fat, 11 grams of fiber (about 50% of daily recommended value for women), 5.5 grams of protein and no sugar. It also provides 18% of daily calcium, 27% of phosphorous, 30% manganese, and some potassium and copper.  Chia seeds have lots omega-3 fatty acids which help to increase HDL, the good cholesterol. The aid in weight-loss, with diabetes, digestion and detox.

Recipe for blueberry banana smoothie with chia seeds

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 medium-large banana
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter (we buy this in bulk and use it to replace milk in all dairy and non dairy recipes – Artisana Organic Raw Coconut Butter, 17 Pound)
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 4+ cubes of ice
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water

Mix all ingredients in blender on high for two, 30 second intervals until very creamy and seeds are well incorporated. This smoothie has the best texture when consumed fresh but it will store for up to 2 days in the fridge.

blueberry banana smoothie with chia seeds and coconut butterblueberry bananan smoothie nutrition facts

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Cucumber Cabbage Juice

This cucumber cabbage juice recipe has just enough cabbage to help cleanse and enough cucumber and apple to brighten the flavor. I know it sounds kinda ehhhhh… but cabbage juice has many many health benefits and the cucumber and the apple in this juice mask any cabbage flavor.  It’s best to make and drink this juice fresh as cabbage juice tends to put off a funky taste and smell if it sits around too long. Instead this juice is refreshing and feels good.

Cabbage juice has a lot of Vitamin C, E, K, folate and potassium. It also has high sulhpur and chlorine content and a lot of iodine. This combination helps to clean the stomach and the intestinal tract (only when it is raw and without salt). It is advisable to start with smaller amounts of cabbage juice and watch how you body reacts because it is such a powerful cleanser. Gas may form in intestines because the cleansing properties of the juice are acting on and dissolving waste/toxic matter. Cabbage juice has been know to relief ulcers and constipation and clear up skin. Research suggest s that the active ingredient in cabbage juice that clear up ulcers is Vitamin U. It is also thought to help: bladder, colitis, kidney disorders, thyroid, blood pressure, bronchitis, asthma, hair loss.

Just give this cucumber cabbage juice a try with small small doses of cabbage. Try increasing the amount of apples to help you adjust to the taste of the cabbages. If you like this recipe, try my other juice recipes: cucumber parsley juicewatermelon lime juice with mintcarrot apple beet ginger juice, and everything green juice.

Recipe for cucumber cabbage juice

Equipment: good juicer

Yield: 1 pint, 16 0z

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber peeled if not organic or if it is waxed
  • 1/4 lemon, peeled but with pith
  • 1 small apple (organic)
  • 1/3-1/2 small green cabbage

cucumber cabbage juice recipe ingredients

Steps:

  1. wash everything thoroughly and peel those that need peeling
  2. alternate cucumber and cabbage through the juicer
  3. add apple
  4. finish with lemon
  5. enjoy!!!

cucumber cabbage juice

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Chocolate Banana Blueberry Smoothie

Yum. This healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie recipe is kinda like dessert in a glass, but it has amazing SUPERFOODS in it so you can’t really feel like you’re making a bad choice here. All of the ingredients here would be best organic : ) Play around making some substitutions if you don’t have all the ingredients.

Recipe for healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie

Yield: About 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium frozen or fresh bananas
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (frozen is better because you can add less ice)
  • 2 heaping tablespoons coconut butter
  • ¼ cup or less flax seed
  • ¼ cup or less raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup filtered water
  • 6-10 ice cubes

Blend on high in good blender, the finer the better (especially for the flax). Don’t let the smoothie warm up in the blender, blend in increments and add a few ice cubes at a time. Share and enjoy!

 

healthy chocolate banana blueberry smoothie

 

If you like this smoothie recipe check out my other smoothies:

guava passionfruit green smoothie recipe

blueberry banana smoothie with chia seeds

fresh papaya and lime smoothie

chocolate banana flax smoothie

green smoothie love

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Quick Salmon and Avocado Salad

This salmon and avocado salad is extremely convenient, simple and inexpensive. It is so good for you it’s hard to believe it takes 2 minutes to make.  We use canned Wild Alaskan Salmon we got from Costco and local avocados. You could also try this with  high quality canned tuna (but obviously only eat it occasionally because of mercury and other toxins). For this recipe you can serve the salmon salad over a bed a lettuce, top with Manchego cheese or make a sandwich. If you want you can also add diced celery, and use products like Veganiase to make it taste more like your traditional tuna salad.

Both wild salmon and avocados are high in omega 3 fatty acids, which are vital to our health. Most of the common knowledge about omega 3’s stops there, and that’s ok. We don’t all need to be nutritionists to eat better. In our increasingly “Westernized” diets, we have an imbalance of omega 3s (the good kine) and omega 6 (the kine we need to limit). Omega 6 acids are in many things that are good for us (in moderation) but also in many things we should avoid, especially the conventional and GMO versions (soybean oil, cottonseed oil, vegetable oil, corn oil, meat and dairy products, imitation cheeses, imitation eggs and egg mixes).

salmon and avocado salad

Recipe for Salmon and Avocado Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:

  • 1 can wild salmon
  • 1 small-medium avocado
  • 1-2 dashes organic, or non-GMO, soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • A few turns of fresh ground black pepper

Steps:

  1. drain salmon
  2. mash salmon and whole avocado in bowl
  3. add pepper and soy sauce to taste (careful not to add to much soy)

 

 

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