Saturday, January 22, 2011

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream For...

(all together now)...beta-carotene! What, not what you were thinking? Are you crazy? It is waaayyyy to cold for ice cream, but whatever the weather, beta-carotene is always in season. We all have a nice healthy orange glow this morning and we didn't even have to visit a hideous tanning bed.
Dinner last night was Carrot Bisque from Vegan with a Vengeance and Kale Puffs*. For the bisque, I used less coconut milk because I had some leftover in the freezer and I used however much was left...maybe half a can. Thanks for the tip, Jacqueline, on freezing coconut milk! I usually add quinoa to the soup after I puree it, but I used leftover brown rice instead. I subbed blackstrap molasses for maple syrup, as usual, for the calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, etc. If I'm going to add a sugar, I might as well get a little nutrition to sweeten the deal. I sprinkled some pumpkin seeds and za'atar on the top. The kale puffs are an old favorite which we haven't made in a while, but I found some forgotten kale in the back of my produce bin last night and decided to whip up a batch.
Bonus picture of some beautiful fresh fruit, a treat this time of year! Our talented neighbor, Vicky, worked with Dema last year on a treasure chest. She made each piece out of wood, took him to the local wood shop to pick out the hardware, helped him put it all together, and stained it. A wonderful project which I never would have managed! This Christmas, she gifted Josie her treasure chest set. So Josie and Parker went over to Vicky's yesterday to work on the chest and they came home with their arms full of produce. See why I hate to leave my frozen wasteland home? We don't have mountains or beaches or beautiful weather, but we have some of the best people on the planet. This fruit was part of their bounty and they eagerly gobbled it up. I'll share pictures of the treasure chest after it is finished.

*A looonnnnnggggg time ago, I promised my version of Susan's wonderful Colcannon Puffs (I asked her permission first, of course). I even hooked several friends and their children on these little dandies and promised them I would give an updated recipe, but life gets in the way at times. Then we cut down on our white potato consumption after researching Dr. Greger's information on white potatoes in his Latest in Clinical Nutrition (I believe it was volume 3) DVD, but I've been thinking of using sweet potatoes in the recipe ever since. I finally made Kale Puffs last night and decided it was time to go ahead and share the recipe. If you have kids who stick their noses up at green foods, you may want to work up to the pound of kale. The longer you cook the kale, the softer the taste.

*Kale Puffs
(yields about 50 puffs - cut the recipe in half if you don't have a family of five because they taste best warm)

3 lbs. potatoes peeled and diced (I used 2 lbs. sweet potatoes to 1 lb. white for puffs we enjoy the best, but you can use all white if you prefer)
1 bunch kale (about 12 oz. or maybe a pound)
1 cup nutritional yeast
1-2 tsp iodized salt
4 cloves garlic minced
1 tsp thyme (we also use za'tar instead of thyme when we are in the mood, but it is a stronger flavor)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 Tablespoons potato starch (or corn starch, whatever you have)
3 Tablespoons ground flax seeds

Steam the potatoes for 20-30 minutes (until they are tender).  While the potatoes are steaming, devein the kale and soak or wash the leaves.  I like to tear the leaves off the main stalk into smaller pieces and soak them. Put all the ingredients, except the potatoes and kale, in a food processor. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. When the potatoes are tender, put them in a large bowl, saving the steaming water. Place the drained kale in the water from the potatoes and cover the pot with lid for about five minutes to wilt the leaves. Once the kale is wilted, use a slotted spoon to put the kale in the food processor (full with the other ingredients) and add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the potatoes. Mash the potatoes with a hand masher and process the kale, etc. Once processed, add the kale mixture to the potatoes and mix thoroughly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly oil if you like (I never do). Form the mixture into tablespoon size balls and place them on the parchment paper. If the mixture is took liquid, you can just let it sit for a few minutes and the flax seeds firm it up or you could add more nutritional yeast. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a little soy milk. Once you have filled up your baking sheet (or two), cook for 15 minutes. Turn the puffs over and cook for another 15 minutes. They will be hot inside even after they are cool to the touch, so eat carefully. Most kids (and adults), I've introduced these to, love to dip the puffs into ketchup (we prefer unsweetened or fruit sweetened) or soup. These are much better warm, but the kids did eat the few, which were left from last night, for pre-breakfast this morning, as they waited for their blueberry coconut pancakes. Enjoy!

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