Whole Berry Cranberry-Orange Sauce with minimal sugar

This cranberry sauce tastes just barely sweet with orange and a hint of ginger. It is as low in sugar as I could make it, sweetened with only 1 tablespoon of white sugar and 1/4 cup apricot jam (made with sugar), reduced apple juice and fresh orange.

This yields 1 cup sauce, since I used only half the 12 oz. bag of cranberries, which is enough for a small Thanksgiving party. You can make this several days ahead of the big feast. I made it on Tuesday.

Ingredients:

10 oz. bottle of apple juice (the little Martinelli bottle)

1 slice of fresh ginger, peeled

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries (1/2 of a 12 oz. bag)

1 large naval orange

1/4 cup apricot jam made with sugar

1 Tb white sugar

Instructions:

Heat apple juice and ginger slice in a medium saucepan. Boil until it is reduced to 1/2 cup. Discard the ginger or put it in your tea for some nice ginger tea.

Pour out the cranberries into a colander and pick through them, discarding any that are getting old. Rinse and add to the reduced apple juice. Bring to a boil.

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Stir in 1/4 cup apricot jam. If you have other jams in the house, you can experiment with them.

Finely zest the orange on a plate, then add to the sauce.

Cut all the white bitter pith from the orange and cut up the orange into small pieces working around the core. Set the orange skins and core aside. Add the orange pieces and juice from cutting to the sauce.

Squeeze the juice from the peels and core into the sauce.

Cook a total of 20 minutes over medium heat, until the texture is thick as jam and about half of the cranberries have burst.

Store in the refrigerator until Thanksgiving.

Gingery Yam – Carrot – Coconut Soup

in bowlHandle this soup gingerly.  The spices in this delicious soup make it a perfect Fall warm-up and it’s chock-full of vitamin A. I made mine with Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup, but you can use vegetable broth for a vegan version.

ingredients.jpgIngredients:

4 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 large yam, peeled and chopped

3 large carrots, peeled and chopped

1/2 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced

5- inch piece of ginger peeled and thinly sliced

1 tsp curry powder

1/4 tsp cumin powder

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp salt to taste

a few shakes cayenne to taste

a few shakes pumpkin pie spice

13.5 oz can low fat coconut milk

chopped yam and carrotsHeat broth to boiling. Peel and chop yam, carrots, onion, ginger and garlic and stir into broth. Let come to a boil and turn to simmer.

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Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes until vegetables are soft. Cool for about 20 minutes or overnight.

in pot

Pour into a blender and blend in batches until smooth. Add coconut milk to the last batch, reserving a spoonful or two of the cream for garnish. Adjust salt to taste.

in bowlServe with a bit of coconut cream swirled in.

 

Chunky Kabocha Soup with Appeal

chunky-kabocha-soup-with-appeal

Kabocha squash has a delicious green peel.  My friend Randi turned me on to kabocha soup with chunks of squash with the peel. We cut it up and roasted it with the peel immersed in a 1/2 inch water bath until it was tender. This recipe can be made vegan with vegetable stock.

Makes about 1 gallon.

Ingredients:

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1 medium kabocha squash

1 small piece of ginger root, grated to make 2 tsp (more if you really like it gingery)

2 teaspoons coconut oil, divided

14 oz. can coconut milk

1 quart (4 cups) broth (chicken or vegetable stock)

a few grinds black pepper

1 tsp salt to taste

about 1/4 cup of roasted green pumpkin seeds (pepitas) for garnish

Preheat oven to 350′

cutting-stem-off-kabochaRinse off Kabocha and dry with paper towel. Cut off the stem.

Cut the squash in half and remove seeds. Cut squash into about 16 pieces. cut-kabocha-in-water-bathPlace in 8″ x 11″ x 2″ pan and fill pan with 1/2 inch water.

Sprinkle with 1 tsp melted coconut oil.

Roast for 45 minutes until squash is tender.

Let cool, then cut into bite-sized pieces.

While squash is cooling, grate ginger, discarding fibrous part. Saute it in 1 tsp coconut oil in a gallon size heavy pot.

After a minute, add broth and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

bite-sized-pieces-of-squashAdd the small pieces of squash to the broth. Stir in pepper.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to break up the softened squash into the broth. Add salt to taste.

Serve topped with roasted pepitas.

Chinese-style Braised Eggplant with fresh Basil

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Braised eggplant is one of my favorite Chinese dishes. Our favorite restaurant, King Yen in Berkeley, serves it fragrant with fresh basil. I picked up the veggies from the farmer’s market: long Asian eggplants, mushrooms, with fresh basil, red bell peppers and green onions (scallions) for color.

I added a chicken breast for more protein. If you have leftover roasted breast you can chop it in bite sized pieces and add it in with the basil.

I make it vegetarian/vegan by swapping the chicken for tofu. and use vegetable broth. I also use both chicken and tofu. I add flavor to the tofu by salting it and frying it in the same oil I used for frying the onions, garlic and ginger. 

I only add a teaspoon of Sriracha because I can’t handle much heat, but feel free to amp it up, adding it at the end to taste.

This is even better the next day, when the basil has a chance to permeate the dish.

This is a time consuming dish. Be sure to do all the chopping and sauces prep before you start to cook so you’re not all stressed out while you’re cooking!

Serves 4

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Ingredients

3 1/2 Tb canola oil for frying (2 Tb if not using tofu)

1 Chicken breast, about 3/4 pound (optional)

1 package extra firm tofu. Salt for sprinkling on tofu

1 pound Chinese eggplants (3 long skinny ones)

8 medium mushrooms (crimini or white)

6 dried shiitake mushrooms (optional)

1 medium or 2 small red or yellow bell peppers

2″ piece of fresh ginger to make 1 Tb grated ginger

5 large cloves of garlic to make 1 Tb thinly sliced garlic

2 green onions (scallions). You can mince a slice of regular yellow onion to make 2 Tb if you don’t have green onions.

1/2 bunch fresh Thai or regular basil to make 1 1/2 cups basil leaves

1 can water chestnuts

Sauce:

sauces

3/4 cup chicken broth (I use Roz’s Jewish Chicken Soup) or vegetable broth or soaking liquid from dried shiitakes

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice wine

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons sesame oil

2 teaspoons hoisin sauce

1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (add more for more heat)

Thickener:

4 teaspoons (1 Tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) water or reserved soaking liquid from dried mushrooms.

2 teaspoons cornstarch

Prep:

Make brown rice

Soak dried shiitake mushrooms in 1 cup warm water

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If using tofu, cut the block into 3 or 4 slices. Pat dry with a paper towel and wrap in a clean dishtowel. Press between two cutting boards and place a heavy frying pan on top for 15 minutes while you prepare the sauce. Unwrap and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch slices and sprinkle both sides with salt.

ginger n garlicPeel and grate ginger to make 1 Tablespoon

Peel and thinly slice garlic to make 1 Tablespoon

Trim woody ends from mushroom stems, then quarter.

red bell pepper and scallions

Slice red peppers into strips

Slice green onions crosswise. Mince the green parts and reserve for garnish.

cut eggplant

Chop eggplants at angles into uneven bite-sized pieces. This will help prevent them from sticking to the pan.

Rinse water chestnuts and chop them into halves

Chop chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, if using

Pull leaves off of basil stems to make 1 1/2 cups of leaves

Directions:

chicken and peppers and scallions

Heat wok on high and add oil (2 Tb if adding chicken, 1 1/2 Tb if not.) Stir-fry chicken a few minutes to sear it, then toss with onions and red bell peppers. Mix in ginger and garlic with metal spatula to incorporate browned bits of chicken. 

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If you are making this vegan, just stir fry the pepper and onion mix 

If adding tofu: remove vegetables (and chicken if using) to a bowl with a slotted spoon, leaving as much oil behind as possible. Add 1 Tb of oil and add 1/2 the tofu at a time and fry on each side until browned. Remove and set on paper towels to drain, then add anther Tb of oil and fry the remaining tofu and drain.

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beginning to cook

Slice the reconstituted dried mushrooms and discard the stems. Reserve 4 teaspoons of the soaking liquid for the thickener. If making vegan, use soaking liquid in the sauce instead of chicken broth.

Add the onion mix back into the pan along with the rest of the chopped vegetables and water chestnuts. Stir-fry a few minutes over high heat.

Pour in the sauce and toss the vegetables to coat.  Add the fried tofu and gently toss to coat it. Lower heat and cover wok. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that vegetables are submerged.

cooking with basilStir in the basil leaves and continue simmering covered for another 3 minutes until eggplant is thoroughly cooked and tender.

finished cooking

Mix the reserved mushroom soaking liquid with the cornstarch. Stir in the thickener and bring sauce to a boil until it thickens

Serve over brown rice or on its own. Garnish with a few basil leaves and green onions.

Ginger Mint Strawberry Lemonade

strawberry ginger mint lemonade

This summer drink gets a healthy kick from fresh ginger and ginger tea. Fresh mint brings the flavor up a notch! If it’s a hot and sweaty day, I like to add a bit of salt to replenish my electrolytes, much as a sports drink would.

I picked up some very sweet and ripe strawberries, fresh mint and  ginger root from the farmers market. Some of the strawberries were so soft they had to be picked over, and these sweet things went into the lemonade.

Ingredients:

ingredients

2 teabags ginger tea (I use Yogi Tea, which contains ginger root, lemongrass, licorice root, peppermint, and black pepper.)

about 2 inches ginger root

1/2 pint very ripe strawberries

a few sprigs fresh mint leaves

1/2 lemon

1 Tb honey (to taste)

1/4 tsp salt for a hot and sweaty day (optional)

Heat a kettle of water to boiling.

While it’s heating, peel the outer skin of the ginger root and discard. Peel the inner parts of the ginger root into a large teapot. Add the mint sprigs and the teabags. Pour boiling water over everything and let it steep for at least 10 minutes.

in blender

Remove green tops from strawberries and any parts that went bad. Cut them into quarters and put in blender. Remove the teabags from the tea, and pour remaining ingredients with the tea into the blender.

tea in blender

Peel a few pieces of lemon zest (just the yellow parts) and squeeze 1/2 the lemon into the blender. Stir in honey and the salt if you like. Add some ice to the blender, then run it on the highest setting until all ingredients are liquefied. Add more ice and water until you get a few quarts to the strength you like. One Tb honey is all I need, but sweeten with more if you like.

Teriyaki Chicken and Salmon

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I made my own teriyaki sauce after noticing that the bottled sauce generally has sugar or corn syrup as the #1 ingredient. This simple to make sauce has a little bit of brown sugar, but gets its flavor from the ginger, garlic and Mirin cooking sake (SAH- kay).

ingredientsCombine in a small saucepan:

1 Tb corn starch

1 Tb tap water

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup Mirin

3 Tb brown sugar

1/4 tsp ginger powder

4 cloves garlic, smashed in a molcajete or mortar and pestle, and finely minced to make 1 Tb

2 inch piece of ginger, finely minced to make 1 TB

Directions:

Whisk cornstarch and water together, then whisk in soy sauce, Mirin, ginger powder and brown sugar. Add fresh garlic and ginger. Heat to boiling, whisking constantly, then simmer for a few minutes until thick.

For chicken teriyaki: I’ve made this in the frying pan and barbecued, depending on the weather.

Pan cooked teriyaki:

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Slice chicken breast and slice one onion. Heat pan with 1 Tb of canola oil.  Add onions and chicken and teriyaki sauce. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for about 20 minutes until onions are soft and chicken is tender. Serve with rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

chicken teriyaki over rice6 boneless, skinless breasts.

Cut off excess fat. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels. Place in on a large plate. Pour canola oil over breasts and spread it over both sides with your hands. Place breasts on hot grill and cook for approximately 10 minutes on each side until done. Brush teriyaki sauce on one side of chicken and put that side down on the grill. Reduce flame to low. Cook for 5 minutes. Brush other side of chicken with teriyaki, flip chicken to that side, and cook on low for another 5 minutes. Plate the chicken and pour a bit more sauce over it.

salmon teriyakiSalmon Teriyaki

Use 3 salmon steaks or 1 1/2 lb  filet:

Marinade salmon in 1 cup Mirin for 15 minutes

Place on hot grill. Cook for 2-4 minutes, depending on thickness of salmon piece. Turn to other side and cook for another 2-4 minutes. Brush teriyaki sauce on one side of salmon, turn down flame, and cook for one minute, repeating for the other side.

Plate, then pour a bit more sauce over salmon.