New Year’s Black-Eyed Peas

black_eyed_peas2

New Year’s Day is a special time for me. Long after the midnight revel has ended, and the noisemakers are put away, it is a day to reflect. And to cook. I have wonderful memories of going over to my grandmother’s house on New Year’s Day. We would eat pork roast (which I avoided during a 15-year stint of vegetarianism), and collards, and, of course, black-eyed peas.

“Eat some more for good luck!” she’d say. The collards represented money; the black-eyed peas, luck. Some years I go without the collards, but I would never, ever skip the black-eyed peas.

Please enjoy this recipe. I adapted it from this lovely website:

http://www.yourveganmom.com/your_vegan_mom/2011/12/black-eyed-peas.html

While it’s not going to give the same taste of paprika, the curcumin gives the dish an interesting, deep flavor. If you are not on a low oxalate diet, cumin will do just fine and still be IC friendly. The red pepper gives the dish both color and a lower amount of oxalate.

I do soak my peas, which is probably not necessary, but it helps me worry less about the dish being ready in time for company! Taste the dish often as the beans get soft enough. Add a little extra salt or other seasoning if you need to. In just a few hours, you will have a scrumptious dish to help ring in the New Year. I enjoy this dish with a bit of cornbread (it’s hard to limit myself to one piece!)

1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 opened curcumin capsule
salt and white pepper to taste
2 cups dried black-eyed peas
6 cups water
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs thyme
Optional if tolerated: pinch of smoked salt
finely chopped flat-leaf parsley and scallions to garnish

In a large pot over medium-high heat, brown the onion and red bell pepper in the butter. Stir in the garlic powder and opened curcumin capsule. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the beans are soft, about 2 hours.

Have a Happy New Year; I hope this dish helps you enjoy it all the more.

Roasted Pumpkin

pumpkin

Halloween has long come and gone. I was shocked, though, to find my uncarved pumpkin was still good by December! Roasting it whole was fun and yielded a lot of delicious squashy goodness. Squash, especially pumpkin, is one of the most low oxalate things you can eat.

Another nice thing about pumpkin: It can help fill the role of a satisfying starch. If you are avoiding grains altogether, pumpkin is your friend. Pumpkin can even be a treat for your pets; my vet recommends giving a cat or dog on a diet a little pumpkin to ease hunger in between meals.

Trying this recipe, with a big pumpkin or small pumpkin, is absolutely worth it.

Ingredients
one pumpkin, uncarved

Gently wash and dry the outside of your pumpkin. Do not use your pumpkin if there are signs of mold or rot; patchy skin is normal. Using a sharp knife, puncture the skin of the pumpkin. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Remove an oven rack so there is enough room for the pumpkin. Place the pumpkin on a baking tray.

Cook it whole for two hours at 350F degrees.

Let the pumpkin cool all the way down, then peel and seed it. First, scoop the strings and seeds out from the middle. If you like, discard the strings and save the seeds. They are very good boiled with a little salt and then baked.

Using a food processor, puree the peeled pumpkin. I suggest using a strainer or cheesecloth to remove any excess water.

Pumpkin freezes well. Use the pumpkin puree to add to soups or desserts, such as pumpkin chicken soup or pumpkin parfait. You can also leave chunks of it whole and enjoy as a very simple side dish.

What ways have you used pumpkins? I would like to put soup IN a pumpkin for a dinner party, kind of like a bread bowl without the bread. I feel as if all the holidays are running together this year; I was hopelessly unprepared for Christmas, but getting the last Halloween decoration on the dinner table reset something in my brain. In honor of more Holiday Time Warps, expect a black-eyed pea recipe soon.

Tortilla Espanola

Do you ever crave something simple? Something you can make with common kitchen staples…or make to use up the five-pound bag of red potatoes you bought pretty much because it was on sale?

Then this dish, my friends, is for you. Red potatoes are lower oxalate than many other kinds of potatoes. You can very easily cut the recipe in half, but it does refrigerate well and keeps for a few days. This recipe makes four servings. If you are having guests over for brunch, it would be the perfect thing to whip up (especially if everyone is sick of Thanksgiving leftovers).

potato_fritattaww

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
About 4 small red potatoes, sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 onion, thinly sliced
Salt and white pepper (garlic powder is a nice addition)
8 large eggs
Suggested garnish: freshly cut chives

Preheat the broiler to high. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet or non-stick pan. Add the potato and onion slices, season with salt and white pepper, and cook over moderate heat, stirring often, until the potatoes and onion are soft but not browned. This could take 10 minutes or a bit longer.

In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs and season with salt and white pepper. Scrape the potato mixture into the bowl and mix gently with the eggs.

Return the skillet to the heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the mixture of eggs, potatoes and onions, spreading it out in an even layer. Cover and cook over low heat until the egg is set around the edges, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the broiler and broil for 1-2 minutes, until the top is just beginning to brown.

Set a large plate over the skillet and carefully invert the tortilla onto the plate. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve warm or at room temperature.

Adapted from http://www.runnerskitchen.com/tag/tortilla-espanola/

Zucchini and roasted red pepper gratin

Zucchini is still available in this corner of the world, in spite of the cold weather. They sit, on sale, mocking me at the grocery store. Roasted zucchini and tomatoes go so well together, you see. I can’t really eat tomatoes anymore without some discomfort, and tomatoes are no good at this time of year anyway. Then I remember: I can make a version of Smitten Kitchen’s zucchini gratin WITHOUT tomatoes!

I use roasted red pepper, which I buy in a big jar, in place of the tomatoes. They add color and moisture to the dish. Since I don’t use minced garlic, I make sure to taste the rice mixture before putting in the eggs. Feel free to add a little extra seasoning if necessary.

w red_pepper_gratin

1/3 cup uncooked white rice
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1/4-inch thick
1/2 pound roasted red peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces
Table salt and white pepper
1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder (if tolerated)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook the rice. While rice cooks, coat one large baking sheet with a tablespoon of olive oil (a bit less for smaller pans). Spread zucchini slices on the baking sheets in as close to a single layer as you can. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of white pepper. Roast the zucchini for 20 minutes. Flip zucchini halfway through.

Heat large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heat oil, then add onions, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking onion until limp and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Taste bits of your dish to see if you have enough seasoning. Combine onion mixture, rice, eggs, thyme, half of your grated cheese and a half-tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Add a good amount of white pepper. Use the remaining half-tablespoon of olive oil to coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Spread half of rice mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange half of roasted zucchini on top. Spread remaining rice mixture over it. Arrange remaining zucchini on top, then the roasted red pepper slices. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and bake until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Adapted from http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/07/zucchini-rice-gratin/

Pumpkin Parfait

wine_parfait

½ cup plain, low fat yogurt
2/3 cup blueberries
½ cup canned or fresh pumpkin puree
2 tsp. vanilla extract, separated
Optional: two teaspoons honey or molasses or ¼ dropper of liquid stevia, blended into the yogurt or pumpkin

Measure out your yogurt and pumpkin into separate containers. Blend them each with a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Alternate spoonfuls of yogurt, pumpkin, and blueberries in a wine glass or other clear glass. Serve immediately.

Fall is finally here! While the live oaks keep their color, the sweet gum trees and a few others have started to turn gorgeous. The wind is getting brisk…and I’ve been working on recipes like apple topping and mulled apple cider. Pumpkins are showing up in the supermarkets more frequently. You no longer get strange looks if you ask where the canned pumpkin is. I just had to make something pumpkin-y.

Pumpkin and parfaits were meant to be. The vanilla extract adds a sweetness and depth of flavor to both the yogurt and the pumpkin. Layered between lashings of blueberries, I found this sweet enough by itself. Feel free to add other flavors—cinnamon or cinnamon extract would be lovely, nutmeg, maybe even a hint of ginger or cardamom. If you enjoy grains, you could toast up some oats and sprinkle them on top. I would recommend eating such a creation quickly—the yogurt will get the oats soggy if you let it sit. As it stands, whether you use frozen or fresh blueberries, you can eat this immediately or prepare it the night before. Do expect a little purple effect if you use frozen blueberries overnight.

I like to serve mine in a wine glass, and you could very easily double the recipe.

Each serving has approximately 165 calories, 20 grams of sugar (mostly from the yogurt and blueberries), and 8 grams of protein.

Cauliflower and Parmesan Cake (Savory Dinner Recipe)

caulliflower_cake

1 medium cauliflower (1 1/2 pounds, 23 to 24 ounces or 650 to 700 grams)
1 large red or white onion, peeled
5 to 7 1/2 tablespoons (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
10 medium or 8 large eggs
Handful (3/4 ounce or 20 grams) basil, chiffonaded
Scant 1 1/2 cups (180 grams or 6.3 ounces) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground curcumin
2 cups finely grated parmesan cheese (200 grams or 7 3/4 ounces) or about 1 generous cup of grated Romano cheese
Salt and white pepper
Butter, for greasing pan

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) degrees. Break cauliflower into medium florets (this will cause less mess than chopping it). Place floret in a pot with a teaspoon of salt, cover them with water and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until quite soft. Strain and let drip in the colander for a few minutes so they dry and cool.

Meanwhile, prepare the batter. Halve your red onion and cut a few thin rings off the end of one side; set them aside. Coarsely chop the remainder of your onion. Heat all of your olive oil in a saucepan (consider reusing the one you cooked your cauliflower in) and sautee the chopped red onion and rosemary together until soft, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Whisk eggs and olive oil and onion mixture together. Stir in basil. Whisk flour, baking powder, curcumin, cheese, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (use 1 teaspoon if you are nervous about this amount) and several dashes of white pepper in a separate bowl and add to egg mixture, whisking to remove lumps. Stir in cauliflower gently, so most pieces remain intact.

Line the bottom of a 9-inch (24cm) round springform pan with parchment paper. Butter the sides generously. Pour in the cauliflower batter, arrange the reserved onion rings on top and bake cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes, until golden brown and set.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Before you serve the cake, be sure to run a knife around the pan.

Some of you may be wondering…why is there so much flour in a low oxalate recipe? Trust me; this cauliflower “cake” is so dense, one serving is pretty filling. Just be sure to serve it with some low oxalate sides, such as a nice salad made with Romaine lettuce and red peppers, or perhaps some peaches or cherries. I do wonder how you could make it with coconut flour…perhaps using a lot of flaxseed and reducing the amount of flour to ½ cup? I might experiment with it. Rice flour also sounds like a promising experiment.

To clarify, it is a savory dish. Unlike a quiche, the flour is folded directly into the egg mixture. The result is a pretty, tasty dish (though it did stick a bit to the pan). I would recommend using the springform pan. If you don’t have one, be sure to really grease your baking pan; it is a bit sticky. I got many, many servings out of this. It reheats well and makes for an ideal Sunday supper.

Adapted from: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/10/cauliflower-and-parmesan-cake/