Dreaming of Minty Kabobs

On June 6th I had surgery to complete a cosmetic need after my surgery in May 2011. This to me is the culmination, the period at the end of the two-year cancer experience process I have lived. With God's grace, I can mark that day as the end of a transformation and the beginning of living what I learned in those two years...of giving back in any way I am able.

And so I am confined to the house, and mostly my room, for a week.  No bending, lifting, driving, jumping on the bed or doing the Macarena! Also, as a test of my willpower, no cooking!

Today is my son's last day of school, and so I have solicited the aid of J and my daughter to stock our dining room table with a whole wheat pizza, fresh veggies, and some type of dessert.  He's bringing a few friends over, but I will be hiding in my room with my apple slices, cinnamon and almond cheese snack!

I can type however!  At least for a few minutes...

And so of course, since thinking of food and reading and watching videos are all I can do (oh, and I colored a cartoon scene I drew a few months ago), I figure why not contemplate what I want to make the instant I have the ok to resume my activities!

Well, these Kabobs came to mind. Lamb seemed the right protein, and middle eastern spices the right compliment.

Minty Lamb Kabobs

This recipe makes about 4 servings.

  • 1 Tbs. whole wheat Bulgur, rinsed (use bran flakes or quinoa for Gluten Free version)
  • 2 tsp. Coriander
  • 2 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 3 whole Cloves
  • 3 green Cardamom pods
  • 6 black Peppercorns
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh Ginger
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh Mint
  • 1 small organic Onion, chopped
  • 14 oz. ground organic grass-fed Lamb
  • 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt

Dip

  • 1/2 c. plain Soy or Coconut Yogurt
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh Mint
  • 3-inch piece of organic Cucumber, grated
  • 1 tsp. Mango Chutney

Soak bulgur wheat in 1/4 c. of warm water for 5 minutes. Drain.

Preheat oven on Broil.

Heat skillet over medium heat, and dry-fry the coriander, cumin, cardamom pods, cloves and peppercorns, until they turn a shade darker and release a roasted aroma. Watch and stir often to avoid burning.

Grind the spices in coffee grinder, spice mill or with mortar and pestle.

Put ginger and garlic in food processor or blender and process to a puree.  Add the spices, bulgur, mint, onion, lamb, and salt and process until finely chopped. You may alternately do this by hand, chopping garlic and ginger.

Mold kabobs into small sausage shapes or  4 metal or pre-soaked wood skewers. Cook under broiler for 10 - 15 minutes, turning skewers occasionally.

To make dip, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Serve kabobs with lime slices and the cucumber - yogurt dip. Garnish with mint leaves.

~ To Your Health!

Petals and Panini

The Petals

The planting continues in the side and front yard. I spoke of my grandmother's hydrangea in my  Flower Patch post, and how huge and bountiful it's huggable round flowers were.

When I went shopping this morning I was greeted by a full display of flowers at the front of the market. To my delight, there on the top row, huddled together, were hydrangeas in several shades.

Below them cheerful daisies and mums. I smiled back as I walked past.

I made my way to the refrigerated section that carried dairy alternatives, and picked up a block of Almond Cheese and a block of Rice Cheese.

Then to the produce aisle to fulfill a lunch craving...some organic spinach, organic Roma tomatoes, and then a couple isles down for some black kalamata olives.  I completed the rest of my shopping and headed home on this 82º day in the valley.

The hills are beginning to turn yellow as we say goodbye to rainfall until October. Of course with the unpredictable weather patterns of the 21st Century... who knows... they may surprise us and flash green once more.

I like the contrast. The evergreens stand out against the hay colored hills, and Mount Diablo stands ever majestic looking over us, lending its protective energy to life here.

It's  a little after noon when I get home and unpack the groceries.

I am going to make Swiss Chard Turnovers for the week, so I chop and blend the ingredients for the filling. (Will post recipe for these delicious triangles later).  I make a batch of  the Basic Dough we discussed in Authentic Arabic Bread post, and leave it to rise.

Now I can make my lunch!  Am quite hungry by this time.

The Panini

Out comes the Panini grill.  While it's heating I slice some Almond Cheese and Tomatoes, and wash a few Spinach leaves.

The Tapenade

I throw a handful of Kalamata olives in the blender with a large clove or garlic, some dry thyme and a dash of lemon. I turn on the blender for 3 seconds, drizzle 2 Tbs. of olive oil through top opening, and pulse it another 3 -4 seconds to blend everything.

Assembly

Two Gluten Free slices of bread are ready to be smothered in Tapenade, topped with Tomato, Spinach leaves and finally the Cheese. Top bread slice holds it all together.

A light spray of Extra Virgin Olive Oil on each side of the sandwich, and onto the grill for about 3-4 minutes depending on heat of your panini maker.

My green salad is already waiting and lunch is ready!

~ Bon Apetit!

Oh-So-Blue Cornflour Crepes

A couple of weeks ago I was wondering down the wall of Bulk Bins at WholeFoods, after looking at fiber ratios of grains I have yet to try... and the Blue Cornflour caught my eye. I was sure I'd never cooked with Blue Cornflour, and stood there with my hand on the bin cover thinking... how would I use it?

A lady standing next to me, who was putting dried figs in a bag, turned her head and said, "I made Brownies with Blue Cornflour a couple of weeks ago and they were great! I remembered my Mom using the stuff, so I experimented and the flavor of the corn and chocolate were amazing."

Naturally, we chatted a bit about the flour and recipes it lends itself to, and I decided to take a plunge into the Blue waters of this indigo grain.

This morning I was ready to tackle my first recipe...I had frozen Marion Blackberries in the freezer, so I poured them into a pot to heat up while I began my adventure.

Blue Crepes

  • 1/4 c. organic Rye flour
  • 1 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground Flax Seeds
  • 1/4 c. Blue Cornflour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Xanthan Gum (opt.)
  • 4 Omega-3 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. Rice, Almond or Soy Milk
  • 2 Tbs. melted Coconut Oil+ 2 tsp. for pan
Blue Cornflour Crepes1
Blue Cornflour Crepes1

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  Add wet ingredients and mix well. Let stand 20 - 30 mins.

Coat a crepe or small saute pan with a little of the coconut oil over medium-high heat.  Wait 2 minutes and pour enough batter to coat bottom of pan.  Swirl to even out crepe.

IMG_1007
IMG_1007

Cook until edges turn brown, and flip.  Cook for another 20 seconds or until brown.

Blue Cornflour Crepes2
Blue Cornflour Crepes2

Remove from pan. Since crepe is not sweet, you may fill it with your favorite savory or sweet filling.

Blue Cornflour Crepes4
Blue Cornflour Crepes4

Note: I added 1 packet Stevia to 2 c. of Marion Blackberries, simmered them on med-low heat while the crepes cooked.  I put berries in the crepe, and the juices on top.

Blue Cornflour Crepes3
Blue Cornflour Crepes3

~ Bon Apetit!  ♥

Garbanzo Beans

Also known as chickpeas, garbanzo beans originated in the Middle East, the region of the world whose cultures heavily rely on this high protein legume. The first record of garbanzo beans being consumed dates back about seven thousand years. They were first cultivated in the Middle East around 3000 BC. Recent studies have shown that garbanzo bean fiber can be metabolized by bacteria in the colon to produce relatively large amounts of short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetic, propionic, and butyric acid. These provide fuel to the cells that line your intestinal wall. The fiber from garbanzo beans helps supports the energy needs of your intestine.

It is recommended that you consume 1–2 cups of legumes per day, at least 4 days per week, to help lower your risk of colon problems, including your risk of colon cancer.

Garbanzo beans also contain more concentrated supplies of antioxidant phytonutrients. The mineral manganese - a key antioxidant in the energy-producing mitochondria found inside most cells - is also provided in excellent amounts by garbanzo beans.

~ Pass the hummus!