Monday, September 26, 2011

Walnut-Date Butter

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Kari's Walnut-Date Butter
(makes approximately 1 cup)

2 cups raw walnut halves or pieces
4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 tsp Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 325.

Spread walnuts on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool a few minutes.

Transfer walnuts to food processor. Pulse to meal, then process 5 or 6 minutes, stopping now and then to scrape down sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. Add dates and salt; process 5 or 6 more minutes, scraping sides of bowl now and then, until a smooth consistency is achieved. Transfer to jar.

Nutrition per Tablespoon:  99 calories, 2g protein, 6g carb., 4.3g sugar, 1.2g fiber, 8g fat (1.1g omega 3, 4.8g omega 6)

sourdough toast with walnut-date butter and banana
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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Breakfast Biscuits

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Kari's Breakfast Biscuits (makes 18)

These soft, barely sweet oat biscuits are laced with moist pieces of prune. Eat them plain, or split and spread with nut butter or jam.

1 cup plain soy yogurt 
1/2 cup Chai tea concentrate (I use Third St. Chai Authentic)
3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp honey (or other liquid sweetener)
2 cups oats
1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup coconut flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
20 prunes, chopped (about 1 cup)

In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, chai concentrate, water and honey. Add chia seeds and oats, and stir well to combine. Set aside and let rest 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375.

In medium bowl, stir together flours, baking powder, soda and salt.

Stir chopped prunes into oat mixture, then add flour mixture. Stir until all flour is incorporated. The mixture should be thick and resemble cookie or biscuit dough.

Divide dough into 18 pieces. Roll into balls and flatten to thick discs. Place discs on lightly greased cookie sheets and bake 18 minutes. Cool biscuits on wire racks.

Nutritional data per biscuit: 133 calories, 27g carb., 3.9g fiber, 3.4g protein, 1.5g fat, 194mg sodium

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Vegetable Congee

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This is my very first congee!  Congee is a comfort food that goes by many names in different countries.  There are many versions and variations.  Change up the vegetables and spices or omit them altogether.  Make it thick or thin, spicy or not, whatever you choose.  You're the boss.  You are only limited by your imagination.

Kari's Vegetable Congee

(makes approximately 10 cups)

This is a comfort food that you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. To me, the flavor and texture of this particular version are like a cross between cream of broccoli and egg drop soups, though it contains no eggs or cream.

3/4 cup jasmine rice, well rinsed
8 cups water
1 rib celery, minced
1 carrot, peeled and minced
5 button mushrooms, chopped
6 broccoli florets, chopped
5 cauliflower florets, chopped
2 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base
1 Tbsp tamari
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Place rinsed rice, celery, and carrot into rice cooker. Add water to 6 cup mark. (This is 8 cups of water in my rice cooker.)  Cook approximately 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tilt the lid so congee doesn't foam up and out of the rice cooker.

Stir in bouillon base, garlic, tamari, mushrooms, cauliflower and broccoli, and add 2 cups hot water. Replace lid, tilted, and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in scallions. Serve.

Note: I made this in a rice cooker, but you can make it in a pot on the stove top if you prefer. I have a very simple rice cooker with two settings, cook and warm. Some rice cookers have a congee setting.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Five Spice, Chili, Garlic Cucumber Salad

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Kari's Five Spice, Chili, Garlic Cucumber Salad (serves 4)

This is a fairly spicy side dish. If you prefer a less spicy salad, you can reduce the amount of chili-garlic sauce.


3 cups cucumber (2 good size cucumbers, peeled and seeded, cubed)

1/2 Tbsp kosher salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 Tbsp turbinado sugar

2 tsp chili-garlic sauce (I used Huy Fong brand, the one with the rooster)

1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil

3 Tbsp water

1/8 tsp Chinese Five Spices blend (I used Dynasty brand which contains cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, cloves, white pepper and licorice root)


Place cucumber in colander and sprinkle with salt. Let rest in sink 10 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.

In 4 cup bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Whisk or stir until sugar is dissolved. Add cucumber and stir to coat. Refrigerate to allow flavors to meld.

Serve cold or at room temperature.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Spicy Smoked Kashi Seitan Sausage

Use bigger pieces of foil than I did.  You can see how mine "poofed" out of their wrappers.  Oops.  My logs all ended up with lumpbacks, but they were tasty lumpbacks.  Straight out of the steamer, this reminded me of stuffing--probably because of the sage.  Use this seitan sausage in recipes like you would any seitan sausage.  Or cut a log into slabs, grill or brown them in a skillet, throw a couple between pieces of whole grain toast with some tomato slices and fat-free mayo.  Call it lunch.  Eat the other slices later cold out of the fridge, and call them a snack. 

Kari's Spicy Smoked Kashi Seitan Sausage

This seitan is a little spicy, but not overly so. The bits of kashi grains add a little extra chewiness (and fiber).


2 cups water

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base

1 cup Kashi 7 Grain Pilaf

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

6 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 tsp kosher salt  (Salt isn't prominent in this recipe, so increase this amount if you want a saltier tasting sausage)

4 Tbsp spice blend*

1 Tbsp tahini

1 Tbsp molasses

1 tsp natural hickory liquid smoke

1 1/4 cups cold water


Spice Blend:

1 1/2 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp granulated garlic

1/2 Tbsp red pepper flakes

1 1/2 Tbsp rubbed sage

1 1/2 Tbsp ground coriander

1 Tbsp fresh ground black pepper

2 1/2 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients.


1. Bring 2 cups water and bouillon paste to boil in saucepan. Stir in kashi, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook 25 to 35 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Cool. (To cool quickly, spread kashi on a large plate or pan and place in the freezer.)  You want all the ingredients cool when you add the gluten.

2. In medium bowl, combine vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast flakes, kosher salt and spice blend. Set aside.

3. Place cold kashi, tahini, molasses, and liquid smoke into food processor and pulse several times. Add 1 1/4 cups cold water, and gluten mixture. Pulse until mixture comes together. Scrap down sides of processor bowl, then process on low about 1 minute. Let rest 10 minutes.

4. Prepare steamer and large squares of foil.

5. Transfer seitan dough to counter and divide into four (or more) equal pieces. Wet hands and shape dough into logs. Wrap each log in foil, twisting ends of foil tight. Make sure it's wrapped well because the gluten will expand. Place foil-wrapped logs in steamer. Steam 1 hour.

Makes 4 large logs (or more smaller logs).