recipes

Moo-free salmon bake

“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?” Charles de Gaulle, French resistance leader and lover of democracy

The thing I have missed most since going dairy free is cheese, particularly all those creamy sauces that put the “comfort” in comfort food come snowy weather. Thanks to my vegan friends out there, that cheesy joy is back!

Moo-free Salmon Bake, while obviously not vegan or even vegetarian*, uses a nut-baseCIMG5836_edited-1.JPGd “cheese” that may taste better than the real thing. Enjoy!

Moo-free Salmon Bake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a baking dish (a Dutch oven or 9-by-13-inch Pyrex dish works well) with coconut oil or some similar dairy-free alternative. Set aside.

Put one can of drained, wild-caught salmon into a medium bowl and crush skin and bone bits well. (I crush rather than remove such parts. One, if I’m going to eat meat, I don’t want to waste. Two, those bones are loaded with nutrition.) Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, mix 1 cup water, 1 cup unsalted cashews, 1-2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast (has cheesy flavor) and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.

Cook one 12- to 16-ounce box of small wheat or gluten-free pasta (like rotini or elbows) according to directions. Return pasta to cooking pot and add the salmon and the cashew sauce. Mix. Taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 large egg and 1 cup frozen sweet peas and mix again.

Put the mix into the prepared dish. Top with crumbled rice squares (the gluten-free cereal) and a light sprinkle of paprika. Bake 30 minutes and serve while warm. (Oddly enough, one daughter and I like to add ketchup on top for full-on comfort food.)

* Vegans and vegetarians: You know what to do. Leave the salmon out and, for vegans, substitute for the egg. 🙂 It’s still yummy. Blessings!

recipes

‘Country Boy’ griddle cakes

“Well, I got me a fine wife, I got me old fiddle.
When the sun’s coming up, I got cakes on the griddle.” John Denver, “Thank God I’m a Country Boy”

There is food and there is food. I’m pretty sure, when John Denver sang so delightfully of “cakes on the griddle,” he wasn’t talking about crepes prepared on a CIMG5766_edited-1.JPGnon-stick pan. (Not that crepes aren’t delightful in a different way — as in a way that involves Nutella.) And, he certainly didn’t have toaster pancakes in mind. Shudder.

Nope. His song was about plain old griddle cakes. All you need is an iron skillet, some real fat and a homemade mix. (You don’t even need sunrise. I make these for lunch many Saturdays. They’re great with vegetable soup.) Enjoy!

‘Country Boy’ griddle cakes

In a medium bowl, mix together 1 cup buckwheat flour (does not contain gluten), 1 cup all-purpose flour (wheat or gluten free), 1 Tablespoon baking powder, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice and one pinch salt. Add two large eggs (or vegan substitute) and 1/2 cup milk (dairy or nut). Mix well. Add water as needed to get to a consistency that is thick but somewhat pourable.

Pre-heat as many iron skillets as you have on medium-low. (I have enough to make cakes on all four burners. Use whatever you’ve got, but four skillets sure speeds things up.) Add 1 to 2 Tablespoons high-heat oil (like canola or coconut or, for dairy eaters, butter or ghee) to each skillet and swirl around to coat the bottom.

Spoon 1/4 cup rounds of batter into skillets. Working quickly, top each round with a sprinkling of raisins, apple bits or banana slices if desired. Watch cakes carefully. When the air bubbles slow down and the edges start to lift from the skillet, slide a spatula carefully underneath. If the cake lifts off cleanly, flip it and finish the cooking.

Line a large plate with paper towels and pile up cakes as they are done, dividing batches with more paper towels to soak up excess oil. (If lack of skillets slows you down, store this oven-proof plate in a low oven so cakes stay warm.) Add more oil to skillets as needed and keep frying and flipping until the batter is gone.

This recipe makes enough to serve six as a side dish. Adjust it up or down proportionally to fit your need.

Serve with vegetable soup for a hearty lunch. Cakes are flavorful alone and are also good with a touch of real maple syrup.

 

 

recipes

Frosty-windows oatmeal

“Battles that involve oatmeal are just never going to end up being historic, you know?” Jake went on. “Gettysburg? No major oatmeal involvement. The Battle of Midway? Neither side used oatmeal. Desert Storm? No oatmeal.” Katherine Applegate, American young adult/childrens author

Forget “frost on the punkin'” — when you live in an old house with wavy-glass windows, you watch for frost on the windows. Drafty? Yes. But, window frost isCIMG5750_edited-1.JPG highly underrated — a delight, in fact. This is especially true for children, who love to hand print it and draw on all sorts of shapes. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote about making frost patterns using one of Ma’s thimbles. Laura lived into her 90s. So, this bit of exposure to the elements obviously didn’t kill her.

Jack Frost hasn’t hit the inside of our house quite yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I have already switched over to oatmeal for breakfast in anticipation.

Even if you live in Florida or have windows that block out everything from cold to political advertisements, you might want to give Frosty-Windows Oatmeal a try. It’s winter comfort (and good health) in a bowl. Enjoy!

Frosty-Windows Oatmeal

Place 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats; 1 teaspoon brown sugar, maple syrup, honey OR molasses; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 Tablespoon of raisins (or any other dried fruit) in a Pyrex or heavy ceramic bowl. (If you make this breakfast a lot, use a dedicated Pyrex bowl as repeated microwaving will eventually trash your stoneware.) Add enough water to almost cover.

Microwave on high for two minutes. Stir. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of nuts and top off with a splash of nut milk or dairy milk. There you have it — a hot and healthy breakfast that’s speedy enough to make any day of the week.

recipes

Gluten-free cornbread stuffing

“It’s too bad we’re not all teddy bears. More stuffing would only make us cuter and cuddlier.” Richelle E. Goodrich, American novelist

I can’t decide whether I live north or south of the stuffing/dressing line, but you get what I’m saying. This is a recipe for the bready stuff that used to go inside poultry back in the day.

And, it’s a recipe that pretty much anyone who shows up at your holiday table can eat. Adding lots of broth and slow-baking it away creates a sweet/savory vibe that can be enjoyed by those who are vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free or nut free. You’ll have them all covered. Enjoy!

Gluten-free Cornbread Stuffing

Two to three days beforehand, make two recipes of my Mountain-style Cornbread (in my recipe archive on homepage). You’re going for dry and stale. Air dry it under cheese cloth for at least 24 hours or dry it out on a low oven if you’re pressed for time.

The day before Thanksgiving (timed for the best flavor and juggling for oven time), use your fingers to crumble the rounds to bits in the largest bowl, pot, whatever that you have. Add 4-6 cups veggie stock. You’re going for moist, not soggy. Add water if needed. Set aside.

Coarsely chop four ribs of celery and four to six unpeeled apples (eating apples such as Gala are best for this).  Finely dice one small onion. Sautè onion, celery and apple chunks in 1 Tablespoon olive oil until fork tender.

Mix cooked celery, apple chunks, onion and 2 cups black or golden raisins (or a mix of both if you’re feeling fancy) with the moistened cornbread. Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 Tablespoon sage and mix well. Taste. Adjust seasoning to your palate. (I use way more sage than this, but that’s me.)

Place in an oiled 9×13-inch pan and bake in a pre-heated oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until golden brown on top. Cool to room temperature. Cover in an airtight way and refrigerate until a half hour before turkey is done. Let return to room temp. While the turkey is resting, pop container back into a warm oven, covered with aluminum foil, to re-warm.

 

recipes

Mountain-style cornbread

“Her corn-cake, in all its varieties of hoe-cake, dodgers, muffins and other species too numerous to mention, was a sublime mystery to all less practised compounders.” Harriet Beecher Stowe, American writer

There’s cornbread and there’s cornbread. In my childhood, my grandmother whipped up a lot of those little Jiffy boxes, baking them in a Pyrex dish. I loved the results, using the spongy, bright yellow squares to soak up chili and stews.

Only after moving to Appalachia did I discover an entirely different species of this food — cornbread prepared in a pre-heated, sizzling-with-fat iron skillet. I still have fond memories of the Jiffy mix, but I doubt I’ll ever go back. Mountain-style Cornbread comes out of the pan with a crunchy, golden exterior that simply cannot be beaten. Enjoy!

Mountain-style Cornbread

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. While the oven is heating, add 1 Tablespoon of fat to an 8- or 9- inch iron skillet. (Old-school cooks use lard. Butter tastes great. Since I am dairy free, I now use canola oil, which produces a comparable texture but doesn’t taste quite as good.) Put the skillet in the oven and let it heat.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine one cup yellow corn meal and one cup all-purpose flour (wheat or gluten free). Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 Tablespoon white sugar and 1 Tablespoon baking powder and mix well. Add two large eggs, 1 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free) and (if you like the tang of buttermilk) 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Mix well.

Using a thick mitt, remove the heated skillet from the oven (close the oven door behind you to retain heat). Spoon and scrape the batter into the skillet, smoothing out the surface. Return the filled skillet to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until top of cornbread is golden brown. Cool five minutes, cut into wedges and serve right out of the skillet.