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Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

We are blessed right now to have eggplants coming out of our ears!!! (or just choke on our plants). So…I invoked this recipe from my repertoire. This recipe is a slight twist on the many variations of Indian dish Baingan Bharta.

All Baingan Bharta recipes have many ingredients in common: eggplant, onions,  tomatoes, ginger, pepper and garlic. Many add garam masala, coriander, turmeric, etc.  I learned to make this during my very first vegan phase in my early early 20’s. To make it heartier (more protein) I started adding chickpeas, and to counterbalance the heat in it, I favored adding a few plump raisins at the end. So in reality it is a bit far from any Baingan Bharta you would order at an authentic Indian restaurant, but in my opinion mo betta!

 

Recipe for Indian spiced eggplant (Baingan Bharta) with chickpeas and raisins

 

Servings: 4+ (~1 cup each)

eggplant

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 medium size eggplants

katies tropical kitchen

  • 1-2 medium-large tomatoes (chopped fine)
  • 1 large onions (chopped fine)
  • 1 Hawaiian chili pepper (chopped fine)
  • 5 garlic cloves chopped fine
  • 2 inch (½ in diameter or so)piece of ginger, grated
  • 1 inch(¼ inch diameter or so) piece of turmeric grated
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • 1 and ½ cup (or to liking) cooked chickpeas

ingredients for baingan bharta

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Lay eggplant on baking sheet, pierce eggplant to help let out steam.
  2. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes and then turn over. Bake another 15 minutes or so until a knife enters easily skin starts to separate from the flesh of the eggplant
  3. Once cooled peel eggplant and roughly chop and mush
  4. Heat oil in large sauté pan (med-high heat) and add onions until they start to become soft, stirring very often
  5. Add ginger, garlic, and turmeric and stir constantly for less than 1 minute
  6. Add tomatoes, cumin, and garam masala and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for a time until tomatoes incorporate themselves into onions mixture.
  7. Add eggplant and mush a bit with your spatula or mixing spoon, allow to heat up and cook another 5 minutes or so on medium heat.
  8. For the last 5 minutes add chickpeas and raisins.
  9. Enjoy warm with rice, alone, over greens, or with naan, etc.

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Raw carrot and beet salad with tahini dressing

My brother Dan brought this recipe beet salad with tahini dressing into my life. Him and his girlfriend used to make this often. To get me involved they started asking for my help making the dressing. After I had made the tahini dressing just a few times in their presence, they made me do it from ever on, which was how I built my confidence in making salad dressings. It is so creamy and yummy, it perfectly balances the earthiness of the raw beets and the sweetness of the carrots.

If you need a good way to include raw beets in your diet, this is it. It is also a great way to use raw carrots and beets from your garden. Guests are amazed at how good it tastes. Most people eating this salad recipe eat way more beets in one sitting than they ever would have. Remember, tahini is from ground sesame’s so anyone with an allergy to this should be warned  : )

If you looking for another way to use raw beets and carrots, juicing them has amazing health benefits. My very favorite homemade fresh juice is carrot apple beet juice with ginger. Afterwards I often use the pulp to make pulp bread.

If you like beets and sweets you should check out my killer recipe for beet brownies and also my healthy carrot cake recipe.

Raw carrot and beet salad with tahini dressing

Yield: 4-6 servings

Equipment: Food processor or other method for grating beets and carrots (e.x. mandoline slicer, spiralizer, cheese grater), and a blender for dressing.

Ingredients for the salad:

  • 10 medium-large carrots
  • 2-3 beets
  • Lettuce or mixed baby greens

Tahini dressing ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup (or more water)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • salt
  • optional: add a little goat cheese to make it creamy

Steps:

  1. First, prepare the dressing in blender by combining all ingredients until smooth.
  2. Next, grate the carrots and then the beets (easiest in food processor), if you wish squeeze a little lemon over them so the carrots keep their color.
  3. Place the carrots and beets in bowl and mix in the dressing, serve on top of lettuce or mixed baby greens (you will have more dressing than salad, dressing should stay good in refrigerator for about 5 days).

Resources on the Health Benefits of Beets, carrots, and tahini

  1. http://www.health.com/nutrition/beets-health-benefits
  2. https://www.almanac.com/blog/natural-health-home-tips/beets-health-benefits
  3. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/298585.php
  4. http://www.realfoodforlife.com/10-benefits-of-carrots-the-crunchy-powerfood/
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Chocolate avocado mousse with banana

From about July to October we have avocados raining down from a very old, tall large tree. Raining. Each morning during these months I pick up perhaps 20 avocados from the ground. I know for city dwellers this is an insane amount of avos. It’s almost like a money tree if you consider how much money people spend on avocados a year.

For 25 years of my life I never really cared for avocados thinking there we just another bland, fattening, caloric food that people were trending on. I would always give up my share of avocado to the next person that wanted them. My brother told me I was NUTs and one day, craving mousse (but abstaining from milk,) I came across the avocado mousse concept…and it was this dish that made me LOVE avocado.

This recipe is vegan, dairy-free and uses unrefined sugar. It is so luscious you will have a hard time putting it down.

If you like the idea of using chocolate with healthier desserts you may like to try my recipes for gluten-free chocolate beet brownies and my chocolate banana brownies

Recipe for Chocolate Avocado Mousse with Banana

Yield: 4-6 servings

Equipment: Blender

Ingredients:

  • Avos (about 2 large)
  • ¼ -½ cup cocoa powder (depending on the size of the avos)
  • To taste honey or maple syrup, or stevia (ideally stevia is an addition to honey or maple syrup and allows you to use less of the honey or syrup by adding a few drops of stevia to bring out the sweetness).
  • Bananas, sliced

Steps:

  1. Add avocados and some of the cocoa powder to blender, add some of the sweetener
  2. Blend until smooth and give it a try for taste
  3. Add more cocoa powder and sweetener to taste
  4. Chill and serve with sliced bananas

 

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Paleo Baked Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

On top of spaghetti, All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meatball, When somebody sneezed. I love this little rhyme, it makes me smile every time I make meatballs. The below baked meatballs recipe was created when I went on a brief paleo diet. It features coconut flour or almond flour instead of wheat flour to thicken the meatballs.

Another special part of this recipe is that they are baked.  I started making my meatballs baked instead of pan-fried because it requires much less attention than constantly turning them in a pan. This means you will plenty of time to prep a nice big salad to accompany your meal 🙂

Also, key to this recipe is the use of a lot of herbs. I think using fresh is the best way to go. I highly recommend growing a few of your herbs own for the amazing difference in flavor and nutrients that these so many recipes benefit from. If you don’t have fresh herbs you can use dried herbs, just scale back to 1-2 teaspoons total depending on the herbs you use and their strength.

I also recommend using grass fed beef.  Look for 100% grass-fed beef that has no unnecessary added antibiotics and hormones.

You can try serving these meatballs with my chunky basil and garlic tomato sauce and manchego cheese. My favorite accompaniment is spaghetti squash. Spaghetti squash with pale meatballs and homemade sauce is the perfect dinner to treat your family and friends to. It is gluten-free and includes so many beautiful veggies, nutrients and proteins. Check out my basic cooking instructions for  spaghetti squash. 

Recipe for Paleo Baked Meatballs with Fresh Herbs

Yield: About 15 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound grass fed beef (or bison!)
  • 1/4 cup onion diced or minced
  • 1 small garlic clove chopped, minced or pressed to preference
  • 1-2 large handfuls of fresh herbs chopped (basil, rosemary, parsley, oregano, etc.)
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/2 cup organic gluten-free almond flour  or coconut flour for paleo diet (or you can substitute other gluten-free flours or try a flour blend being careful that none of them dominate the flavor too much). Alternatively, you could just use regular white flour.
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or a little more to taste
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. In medium bowl, beat egg, add onion, garlic and herbs.
  3. Add ground beef and mix well.
  4. Add flour and mix well (a few heaping tablespoons at a time so that you can mix it evenly).
  5. Form into 1 to 1 and ½ inch balls and place on ungreased cookie sheets or shallow pans and place in oven.
  6. Turn every 10 minutes for 25-40 minutes until cooked to your tastes (e.x. medium-well).
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Winter Squash Bisque (dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan)

For a while I was convinced this soup would make people fall in love with me. In reality I just make this soup for all the people I really really love. This dairy-free recipe for winter squash bisque is warming, smooth, and even yummy cold. Additionally, it is quite filling especially when served with fresh bread and or cheese. Oh! And it is also gluten-free, vegan, and fat-free.dairy-free winter squash soup

In Hawaiʻi it is not always possible to get good tasting affordable butternut squash, hubbards, etc. They are available in some WholeFoods and Safeway but they are seriously taxed. I’m talking like $15 squashes.

Here on the Hāmākua coast squashes grow pretty well. Especially in the fall/winter. One local variety is Kabocha squash. The skin is so tender you can eat them. But also a lot of people call any winter squash they see in Hawaii a Kabocha. In reality, there are so many local varieties that are unnamed because they are constantly crossing with each other.

I recommend going to your local farmers market or grocers and picking up a squash that looks like it has a deep colored flesh. I prefer the ones that are orange or pink on the outside. Try a few and save the seeds of the ones you like best. Either plant the seeds fresh out of the squash or dry the seeds.

The tropical winter squash is full of beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Depending on the variety, winter squash can have very high levels of Vitamin A (up to 350% RDV), Vitamin C (up to 50% RDV). Look for squashes that are deeper colors of yellow, orange and red for example Butternut, Hubbard, Kuri. These are little higher in nutritional value than spaghetti or acorn squash. There are also loaded with fiber, have some protein, Vitamin B6, Folate, Magnesium, Thiamin, Potassium and Manganese.

If you like soup purées try out my recipe for red pepper coconut squash soup.

Recipe for Winter Squash Bisque

winter squash bisque vegan gluten-free

 

Ingredients

  • 1 winter squash (medium, about 5 pounds)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 large or 2 small potatoes
  • Enough water to cover ingredients (vegetable broth and chicken broth is also good but not necessary)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Materials:

  • Blender (immersion blender is the easiest)
  • Large soup pot

Steps:

  1. Cut the squash open, save the seeds for planting or eating, and roast squash in oven  350-400F until soft enough to scoop away the flesh from the skin easily (I put my cut side up in a casserole dish with a little water  so the steam helps it cook quicker).
  2. While squash is cooking roughly chop the remaining ingredients
  3. For a richer taste you can sauté these in butter or olive oil for 5 minutes before you add broth or water
  4. Add the water or broth until about an inch above the veggies and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium
  5. When the squash is tender let it cool for a few minutes (so you don’t burn yourself), peel it and add the flesh in chunks to the soup
  6. Cook another 10 or so minutes to let the flavors blend
  7. Remove from heat and let sit until it stop bubbling and soup is cool enough to blend (you don’t want a glass blender to crack under the heat, a plastic blender to melt plastic into your soup, or the immersion blender to spit up hot soup at your face and body).
  8. At this point blend your soup until a uniform puree is achieved.
  9. Put back on the stove to warm, season with salt and pepper.
  10. Serve hot (with shredded hard cheese for some extra protein and yummy goodness) and bread for dipping.

Resources:

  1. http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/butternut-squash.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_squash
  3. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63
  4. https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/seasonal-produce-guide/winter-squash

 

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Dairy-free chicken pot pie

This dairy-free chicken pot pie recipe is almost as a simple as making soup. You just need to take a little extra time to make the crust. It is a healthier, and dairy free alternative to other pot pies. I use coconut oil for the crust instead of lard or butter.

ingredients for the crust:

  • 1 and ¼ cup flour (Einkorn, Spelt, Wholewheat)
  • ¼ cup chilled coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ ice cold water

ingredients for the filling:

  • oil (1-3 teaspoons olive oil)
  • 2 chicken breasts chopped
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • about 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1 cup chopped green beans
  • 1 cup chopped summer squash
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 cups broth
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons flour, or 1-2 tablespoons tapioca starch (or other thickener)
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Steps:

  1. Make the pie crust dough by combining dry ingredients, cutting the coconut oil into the flour and adding the water gradually (you may not use all of it) until crumbly mixture. Roll into a ball without handling too much and chill for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
  2. Add oil or butter or both to a skillet, heat to medium/medium high and fry the onions, carrots, and other vegetables, and garlic for 5 minutes
  3. Then, add the bit sized chicken and brown a little in the pan stirring constantly for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped fresh herbs and veggie broth, let simmer 15 minutes
  5. Take out some of the broth, add 2 tablespoons flour (or other thickener), whisk until dissolved. Add the thickened paste into the pan again and let simmer another 5-10 minutes.dairy-free chicken pot pie
  6. Taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary (I add a little soy sauce and more salt and pepper)
  7. While simmering roll out the pie crust.
  8. If you have stainless steal or other oven proof skillets you can put the crust directly on top of the pan and bake, otherwise, transfer to oven-safe pan.
  9. Cover with pan with the crust, seal around the edges, if you top doesn’t have holes, make sure to poke some to let out released steam.
  10. Bake at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes or until crust appears golden brown and pot pie is bubbling
  11. Enjoy!

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Variation: Hamakua Mushroom and Chicken Pot Pie

This recipe follows the basic steps from above including the crust but uses Hamakua Piopinni Mushrooms to dominate the flavor of the dish.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2 lbs or more fresh mushrooms (we use Piopinni and a few Grey Oyster Mushrooms)
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 gloves garlic
  • 1 carrot diced small
  • 1 celery stalk diced small
  • 2 cups broth
  • A few rosemary springs
  • Salt, pepper, soy sauce to taste
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