The Difference Between Groats, Steel Cut, Old-Fashioned, and Instant Oatmeal

Sand and Succotash | The Difference in Oats

A well stocked pantry includes basics to help create a last minute dinner or to enrich meals already in progress. Oats are a good thing to have in any pantry. There are four basic types of oats available to the healthy cook for meal planning and recipe creating, and they all relate to how processed they are – from the whole oat to the instant type. Oats can be used as is (a hot cereal), as a filler or binder (ground beef for meatballs), to add thickness (inside smoothies), or even a jolt of fiber (adding oat flour in place of some of the all-purpose flour when baking).

Oats are high in protein, and are great for good digestion. They are naturally whole grain. Oat themselves are gluten-free. Save any extra oatmeal prepared for breakfast, too. Any plain leftover prepared oats can be added to soups and chowders, or even stirred into quick breads.

Whole Oat Groats

These are the whole oats themselves, in their whole form. Groats in general are the actual hulled kernel of grains. Plain oat groats are cooked at a ratio of 1 part oat groats to 3 parts water with a pinch of salt. It takes about an hour to cook at a low simmer, but well worth it if you are looking for a chewy texture for a breakfast cereal. Whole groats can be cooked by themselves or added with other whole grains for a unique grain pilaf dish.

Steel Cut and Ground Oats

Often called ‘Irish’ or ‘Scottish’ oats, these oats are cut rather than rolled. Stone grinding produces pieces of oats of varying sizes. When looking at them, they resemble chopped up rice pieces rather than flattened oat grains. Scottish oats differs from Irish oats as these are ground rather than cut. Allow for longer cooking times when preparing both types, and when made for breakfast steel cut or ground oats will yield a heartier, richer, and more chewy texture than old-fashioned or instant oats.

Old-Fashioned Oats

These are sometimes just called rolled oats and look like flat ovals. This kind of oatmeal has the kernels steamed first, then rolled. These take longer to cook than instant or quick-cooking oatmeal but are much quicker than steel cut or ground. Since they are processed less than the quick-cooking types, and the texture is firmer than instant. These kind of oats can be added as a filler or binder to ground meat dishes and quick breads.

Quick Cooking Oatmeal

Also called instant, this type of oatmeal contains precooked oats that are dried and rolled, and cooking them is very easy, even with just very hot water. Quick-cooking oatmeal goes well into shakes and smoothies where a softer texture is needed or oats quickly softened is desired. It has the same nutrition as all the other oats, but the consistency and texture will be much softer and less chewy.

Nestle Narrowing Its Ingredient List to Those Consumers Are Familiar With

Great article via Food Business News – “Why Nestle changed its lasagna recipe.” Nestle is narrowing its ingredient list across the board, eventually changing all 140 dishes in its Stouffers line.

The new “kitchen Cupboard” commitment involves changing their recipes to include what consumers already have in their kitchen cupboards and pantries – notably they are ditching things like autolyzed yeast extract and carrageenan. They are beginning with their lasagna dishes.

Since many of the hard-to-pronounce ingredients produce an Unami flavor profile to the palette, they are testing with adding soy flavoring. Soy sauce is a soy flavoring inside most home pantries that gives an Unami flavor to dishes.

Great move by Stouffers.

Full article here.

How to Make Yogurt at Home with a Yogurt Maker

The benefits of eating yogurt and the live cultures in it are well known. You can eat yogurt by itself or use as an ingredient in recipes. Making yogurt at home is easy, and with an automatic yogurt machine, it’s even easier. A major benefit of using a yogurt maker is that the temperature during processing is kept consistent.

Sand and Succotash | How to make yogurt at home using an automatic yogurt machine.

Components of the Yogurt-Making Set Up

A typical kit for a yogurt machine comes with the warming base, a cover, and individual cups and lids. Some models will have a dating system on the lids, either indicating when the yogurt should be used by, or when the yogurt was made. Freshly made yogurt will need to be consumed within ten days of it being made. If no numbering system is available on the jar lids, mark with freezer tape the date for a quick reminder.

Freeze-dried yogurt starters can be used to activate the yogurt. These are packets containing lactic bacteria (L. Bulcaricus, L. Acidophilus, S. Thermophilus) with other ingredients such as milk powder, sucrose and ascorbic acid. Homemade yogurt can also be made with purchased plain regular or Greek-style yogurt containing active live cultures. Once a batch of plain yogurt is made and chilled, it may be used one time to create another batch of yogurt. After that, you’ll need to begin a new batch of yogurt with either a fresh yogurt or freeze-dried starter.

Process of Making the Yogurt

Pasteurized milk is heated up and brought to a boil, and then cooled to a lukewarm temperature. The boiling process may be skipped, but the boiling creates a firmer yogurt in the end. And while whole milk, reduced fat milk, or skim milk may be used in the recipe, the consistency will be different depending on the milk being used, and the cooking time will also change.

After cooling the heated milk to lukewarm, yogurt cultures are introduced and let to set in the warmer base for a period of time to activate the cultures and create the homemade yogurt. Once finished, the yogurt is chilled and ready to serve.

How to Make Yogurt at Home with a Yogurt Maker
This recipe creates about 50 oz. of homemade plain yogurt. I use 2% milk in my yogurt because that is how we prefer the taste and texture at home, but experiment with other milks if you drink a different type of milk. This was tested and created using the Euro Cuisine Digital-Automatic Yogurt Maker. Refer to your manual if you have a different model for specific instructions unique to your model.
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Ingredients
  1. 42 oz. pasteurized 2% milk
  2. 6 oz. plain Greek-style yogurt (see note below)
Instructions
  1. Wash all jars and lids and dry thoroughly.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly to prevent the bottom from burning, and using a heavy, high-sided pot. Once the milk begins to climb up the sides of the pan, remove from heat and stir it down. Place back on the burner and continue to cook for about a minute more. Remove the pan from the burner, and let cool to around 110 degrees F. Use of a thermometer will be helpful; the milk will be lukewarm.
  3. Place the weighed plain yogurt into a mixing bowl. Add a couple of ladelfuls of the warm milk into the yogurt, and mix until smooth. Pour this back into the pot of milk. Divide the milk mixture evenly between the jars.
  4. Set the jars onto the base of the machine. Turn it on, and enter in the time required for the milk being used. 2% milk will take about 9 hours to create the yogurt. Cover the jars with the lid. Make sure to set the machine in an area that will be undisturbed and not bumped or moved as this will directly have an effect on the final texture of the finished product.
  5. The time is up, carefully remove the lid to avoid any water that has condensed on the lid to excessively get into the yogurt. Mark the date on the lids, and place on the jars. Place in the refrigerator for at least three hours to finish up the process.
  6. Serve the chilled plain yogurt as desired.
Sand & Succotash http://www.sandandsuccotash.com/

Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero

“Discover the Way of the Salad!”

salad-samurai

There are a few reasons why I love Terry Romero’s cookbooks: engaging text, downright delicious recipes, and the fact that you don’t even have to be vegan to enjoy what she makes. It’s actually included in the name of her latest cookbook: Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to be Vegan to Love. Salad Samuri is no change from her previous works (Veganonmicon; Vegan Pie in the Sky) in that there is fun for everyone.

Salad Samurai: Salads by the Seasons

Romero dives right into salads by talking about ‘The Salad Samurai Code’ with tofu pressing, portability and storing, ingredients, and seasonality. This leads the reader to see how she breaks down her book, mainly by the seasons. And don’t think salads are strictly for the long, hot, dog-days of summer. Winter and fall recipes include Smokehouse Chickpeas ‘n Greens Salad, Sesame Noodles in the Dojo, and Seitan Steak Salad with Green Peppercorn Dressing, which are hearty for anytime of the year.

Meal planning is important but pretty dull, and Romero attempts to make it fun (She succeeds! Who likes to menu plan? My hand will remain down!), and provides tips on how long as a general rule certain components should be kept with a plan for tackling salad menu planning.

Fun & Resourceful Supporting Recipes

Ok, her recipes are great, but all the supporting recipes are what makes the book gold and a valuable kitchen resource for me. I love this book for all of the separate supporting recipes that I can mix and match, and totally beef up my old, tired favorites – her dressings and ‘seriously hearty salad toppings’ are the bomb: Pickled Red Grapes and Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan are keeps for more things than simply salads.

Here is a tempeh recipe to try from the book. The accompanying Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (look for the recipe in the book) is a supporting recipe, and an example of what makes this book gold.

 

pepperoni-tempeh-pizza-salad

Pepperoni Tempeh Pizza Salad
Serves 2
If a layer of pizza is the foundation of your food pyramid, toss this zesty salad into your well-balanced diet: “pepperoni” tempeh nuggets, fresh basil, olives, onions, and a vibrant pizza “sauce” dressing are served up not on a crust but on a robust blend of spinach and arugula. Guilt-free and gluten-free, it will leave you feeling great about having another slice, er, salad bowl. Perfect as is, but decadent with a dusting of Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35 in the book).
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Dressing
  1. 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes with basil and garlic (do not drain)
  2. 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  3. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  4. 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  5. 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  6. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepperoni Tempeh Bites
  1. 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
  2. 2 tablespoons tamari
  3. 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  4. 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  5. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  6. 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  8. 8 ounces tempeh, diced into 1?4-inch cubes
For the Salad
  1. 2 cups baby arugula
  2. 3 cups spinach
  3. 1 cup lightly packed fresh basil leaves, torn into bite-size pieces
  4. 1 cup plain toasted pita chips or Classic Croutons (page 39)
  5. 1/2 cup pitted, chopped Kalamata olives
  6. 1 sweet onion, sliced into half-moons
  7. 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  8. 2 tablespoons Roasted Hemp Seed Parmesan (page 35)
Instructions
  1. Set aside 1/2 cup of the diced tomatoes for the tempeh bites. Add the remaining tomatoes and the rest of the dressing ingredients to a blender and pulse until smooth. Chill the dressing until ready to use.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the reserved 1/2 cup diced tomatoes with the paprika, tamari, vinegar, garlic powder, fennel, and black pepper. Preheat the olive oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the tempeh and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes, until browned, then stir in the marinade. Fry for another 3 minutes, until the tempeh is sizzling and most of the marinade is absorbed, then remove from the heat.
  3. Add to a large mixing bowl the greens, basil, pita, olives, onions, and oregano. Pour over half the dressing and toss to combine. Divide the salad into serving bowls, top with the tempeh, and serve with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle each serving with hemp parm.
Notes
  1. Prepare the dressing up to 2 days in advance and keep chilled in a tightly covered container. You can also make the tempeh the night before and gently warm it before assembling the salad.
Sand & Succotash http://www.sandandsuccotash.com/

Book Information:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher (thank you!) and any opinions are my own.

Recipe and image from Salad Samurai: 100 Cutting-Edge, Ultra-Hearty, Easy-to-Make Salads You Don’t Have to Be Vegan to Love by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Mayim’s Vegan Table by Mayim Bialik

Mayim Bialik has been busy in the kitchen, and her new book Mayim’s Vegan Table is the result. With a simple layout and quick recipes, the book would make a welcome addition on the cookbook shelf for a home cook just getting into vegan cooking. For veteran vegan cooks, she offers ways to spice up the family menu.

Vegan Choices

The first four chapters deal with vegan nutritional choices and stocking the kitchen with plant-based selections. The way veganism wound its way into Bialik’s life slowly, first by removing dairy from her diet due to her son’s dairy sensitivity then looking at the environmental impact of non-vegan foods, was interesting. As an active vegan mother, her home menus are both surprisingly down to Earth and quick to prepare. From the book:

Her transition from a vegetarian college student to an almost vegan mom to a now entirely vegan mom involved a strong need for “fun foods” – foods that can please finicky toddler palates, and a lifestyle that is not expensive, time consuming, or only available if there are vegan restaurants around.

The tips and advice cater to those who know nothing about actual veganism, such as comparing an apple to all the ingredients in an Oscar Meyer Lunchable snack, looking at dairy alternatives, and describing what a vegan is. For a person already living a clean vegan lifestyle, I’d assume they would simply skip through this. For non-vegans contemplating the lifestyle choice, the info would be helpful.

Recipes: Grouped by Menu Item

The seven recipe chapters are grouped by the menu item: Breakfast; Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches; Snacks, Sauces, and Dips; Veggies and Sides; Entrees; Breads; and Desserts. The Metric Conversions is a standard chart, but the Resources at the back of the book is a helpful list of vegan and nutritional books and websites to check out.

Bialik makes good use of quinoa and couscous, and while this isn’t a Jewish cookbook, her all-vegan Matzoh Ball Soup has all the ingredients for a tasty vegetable soup. She also gives eight different dip recipes that could easily double as sandwich spreads.

What I liked the best is the ease with which many of the recipes can be put together (read between the lines – much of the ingredients are probably already in your pantry). Right now where I live, the weather is starting warm up, so anything quick and cool is satisfying. The Vietnamese Banh Mi with Do Chua and Sweet Sauce is one I’ll probably have on hand all summer for sandwich pockets (do chua is a Vietnamese carrot and daikon pickle).

Overall, I appreciated her recipes. Almost every single one I can reproduce with things I have in my pantry. And as a busy parent, finding healthy recipes (not just entrees!) to incorporate into a menu makes planning easy.

Here is her recipe for Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Herbs. Quick to toss together and glorious looking on a potluck table, this one would leave both vegans and non-vegans satisfied.

quinoa-salad

Quinoa Salad with Veggies and Herbs
When Mayim first became vegan, she saw a recipe in a magazine for barley salad with herbs. She replaced the barley with quinoa, a high-protein seed from South America that is incredibly versatile, inexpensive, and easy to make. The result is one of her favorite dishes to bring to potlucks. You can prepare it with almost any vegetables and herbs you have on hand. The secret is to use a generous amount of the dressing and let it sit for a few hours before serving.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  2. 1/2 cup chopped green onions, green part only
  3. 1/2 cup seeded and diced red bell pepper
  4. 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  5. 1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  6. 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  8. 1/4 cup canola oil
  9. 1 garlic clove, minced
  10. 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  11. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the quinoa and 2 cups of water over high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer, covered, until all the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the green onions, red pepper, peas, parsley, basil, and mint. Toss in the cooked quinoa.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then toss into the salad, stirring to mix well. Let stand for 1 hour for the flavors to blend.
Sand & Succotash http://www.sandandsuccotash.com/

Book Information:

About the Author:

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Recipe and Photo: From Mayim’s Vegan Table: More Than 100 Great-Tasting and Healthy Recipes from My Family to Yours by Mayim Bialik with Dr. Jay Gordon. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

You Are What Your Maternal Grandmother Ate, And Also What You Eat Affects Your Offspring

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Interesting research by Christoper Kuzawa, Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University. The field research followed more than 3,000 pregnant Filipino women and their offspring, and filtered through 3 decades of participation.

It is interesting that what trended is this: what the maternal grandmother ate and how big or small the baby was directly affected the subsequent daughter’s children. And in some instances, how the second generation’s diet as a child affected the third generation’s offspring.

The following are powerful findings from Fetal Origins of Developmental Plasticity: Are Fetal Cues Reliable Predictors of Future Nutritional Environments?

Intergenerational studies that track birthweight records across multiple generations find that the mother’s own birth weight is among the strongest predictors of her offspring’s birthweight….These findings have been taken as support for the hypothesis, now 35 years old, that the nutritional experiences of the mother when she was a fetus condition the intrauterine nutritional environment that she provides her own offspring, with effects stronger through the female line…And while this intergenerational effect is best documented for prenatal nutrition, several recent studies suggest that what a mother ate as a child also influences offspring growth.

Reading further, not only does prenatal health give a possible clue to the next generation’s health, but also what the female’s nutritional environment was – after birth – in childhood.

Although not focused on birthweight as an outcome, more direct evidence for an intergenerational influence of childhood nutrition comes from the INCAP supplementation trial in Guatemala (Stein et al., 2003, 2004). In this study, offspring of women who received a high-quality nutritional supplement during childhood grew faster during the first 36 months of life. While the mechanisms remain to be established, these studies suggest that a female’s nutritional experiences after birth continue to condition the nutritional environment that she will provide her own offspring, with measurable effects on both prenatal and postnatal growth in the next generation.

If this isn’t a wake up call on how we should be taking care of ourselves and our children by way of  nutritional choices, I don’t know what is. The fact that the nutritional choices we make as procreating women can or may affect our grandchildren is eye opening. A little scary, but saying no to that coveted junkfood now may be the best gift to give to our daughters, and our daughters’ daughters.

For more on Chris Kuzawa, PhD, and his research, visit his research page.

Resource:

Kuzawa, Christoper W. “Fetal Origins of Developmental Plasticity: Are Fetal Cues Reliable Predictors of Future Nutritional Environments?” American Journal of Human Biology (2005): 5-21. Web.

Mesclun: Specialty Baby Salad Greens

Mesclun Mixes

A quick look-up in a dictionary for the word ‘mesclun’ will yield a simple definition: a salad made of greens and herbs. If you take a closer look at the different mesclun salad mixes in the produce section, you’ll find a wide array of baby lettuces and fresh herbs.

Many different greens are used in the mix. The key to mesclun mixes is that they are grown and cut as small leaf lettuces, ensuring they are tender and less bitter than their adult forms. While mesclun can be sautéed and served warm, mesclun mixed greens are often simply used as a salad base.

Growing mesclun at home is easily started and grown in a container at home, and the seed mixes vary. The manufacturer’s or grower’s mix may depend on desired salad color, texture, growing times, or the salad’s flavor profile. Check the labels of different brands for a mix that suites you and follow the recommended growing instructions.

Here is a list of five of the most popular greens that make up a general mesclun salad mix, and their daily value percentages from a single serving size.

Mesclun – Five Popular Greens Inside a Mesclun Mix

  • Endive – Leaf vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. Endive can be found as frisee (curly endive) and escarole (broad leaf endive). Endive provides both flavor and texture to the mix. Per one-half cup serving, endive adds 11% DV Vitamin A, 3% DV Vitamin C, 9% DV Folate.
  • Radicchio – Variegated colors in red or green. Gives a nice bitterness and color to a salad. Per 1 cup shredded portion, radicchio gives 6% DV Folate, 5% DV each Vitamins A and C, and has 37mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Arugula – This leafy green also goes by the name of rocket or roquette, and adds spice to the salad. Per 1/2 cup serving, arugula leaves give 5% DV Vitamin A, and 2% DV each Vitamin C and Folate.
  • Chard – Also can be found as Swiss chard, chard are the leaves from the beet plant, Beta vulgaris. Per 1 cup raw serving, Swiss chard gives 44% DV Vitamin A, 18% DV Vitamin C, 3% DV Vitamin E, and has 22mg Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Dandelion Greens – Not the typical weed, this wider leaf variety gives great flavor and texture to the mix. A 1 cup serving of chopped dandelion greens gives 112% DV Vitamin A, 32% DV Vitamin C, 10% DV Calcium, 8% DV Dietary Fiber, and gives 144mg Omega-6 fatty acids.

Sources:

Neufeldt, Victoria, Ed. Webster’s New World College Dictionary. 3rd Ed. New York: Simon, 1997.

Nutrition Facts and Analysis found on Nutritiondata.com. 

Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero

When I heard Vegan Eats World was coming out, I got excited. Namely because of the author, Terry Hope Romero. She always finds a way to turn vegan food into something delicious, gorgeous, and with my personal favorite Vegan Pie in the Sky which she co-authored, creates vegan desserts that cook up perfectly.

Romero entertainingly starts the introduction with “What If the World Was Vegan?” She brings up her philosophy that the building blocks of cuisine are not meat or meat products per se, but the so-called supporting elements in recipes – the grains, the herbs, the spices. If I think hard on that, she is right. Pasta is but pasta (or, for non-vegans, chicken is but chicken), and it is the vegetables, fresh herbs, fruits, nuts, and more, that transform a simple dish into one that is uniquely Thai or Chinese or Italian. Vegan Eats World travels the globe and gives the reader a little bit of each ethnic cuisine, vegan-style.

Whether or not you are familiar with vegan cooking, the first section Kitchen Cartography: Mapping Your Way to a Brave New Vegan Cuisine is a helpful one. She talks about mise en place (one of THE most important things I learned in culinary school LOL), knife basics, cooking terms, ethnic and regional ingredients, kitchen equipment and even shopping lists. Good stuff to review before tackling the different recipes which touch on the following cuisines: Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, European, Latin American and Caribbean, Asian, Indian, Thai, and African.

I love how the chapters are separated not by region but by menu item giving me the freedom to mix it up and serve a multicultural meal in one sitting. The chapters are: Spice Blends; The Three Protein Amigos: Tofu, Seitan and Tempeh; Pickles, Chutneys and Saucier Sauces; Salads, Spreads and Sandwiches; Soups; Curries, Hearty Stews and Beans; Dumplings, Breads and Pancakes; Asian Noodles to Mediterranean Pasta; Hearty Entrees; Robust Vegetable Entrees and Sides; Rice and Whole Grains: One-Pot Meals and Supporting Roles; and Sweet Beginnings.

My son has his favorites but my daughters are adventurers in the kitchen. And if one won’t try something, the other will dig right in so no matter what I try I have one of them tasting right along with me. Carrot salad is just one of those things that I cannot for the life of me get any of my kids to eat, though. Something about raisins and carrots suspended in sweet mayonnaise or bland vinaigrettes leaves a bad taste in my mouth, let alone theirs. But, carrots are plentiful at the house and everyone loves them. Enter the Harissa Carrot Salad. Major hit all around. I think it was the lemon-cumin combo that did us all in, with a just a little sweetness from the orange juice and agave nectar.

The recipe is below, and is excellent with Israeli couscous for lunch.

Harissa Carrot Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 3/4 pound carrots, scraped and sliced into matchsticks or shredded
  2. 1/4 cup golden raisins
  3. 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro
  4. 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  5. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  6. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  7. 1 teaspoon olive oil harissa Paste (recipe on page 43 in the book) or 1/4 teaspoon each cayenne pepper and ground cumin
  8. 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  9. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place the carrots, raisins, and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. In a liquid measuring cup whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the carrots. Use tongs to toss everything together and serve immediately.
Sand & Succotash http://www.sandandsuccotash.com/

Book Information:

Author Information:

From Vegan Eats World: 250 International Recipes for Savoring (and Saving) the Planet by Terry Hope Romero. Reprinted courtesy of Da Capo Lifelong Books.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.

Welcoming Kitchen by Kim Lutz: CBOW

Cookbook of the Week

Cookbook author Kim Lutz has created recipes that are free from common food allergens, and also vegan and gluten-free. Recipes are family friendly.

For people with any kind of food allergy, a simple chore such as grocery shopping can be a challenge. Those looking for allergen-free and gluten-free recipes and meal planning ideas, can find it in Welcoming Kitchen, which also gives helpful pantry stocking solutions. Menus are included for all occasions, with simple, healthy recipes.

Amazon: Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes

Kim Lutz is a cookbook author and runs the blog, Welcoming Kitchen, with her co-author, Megan Hart, a registered dietitian. All recipes they post there are free of the eight common allergens (dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish), gluten-free, and also vegan. In her book of the same name, Lutz shares the story of discovering her son had a food allergy a couple of months after his birth. Because she was still nursing him, she had to find foods she could eat and cook with that agreed with her son: healthy and good tasting yet allergen-free.

Pantry Basics and Shopping Tips

Stocking up on pantry basics should always start with checking the labels. Lutz recommends that labels should always be checked each time before purchasing, even if the canned or dried goods are home favorites as manufacturers may change their recipe for a product. Some items may have hidden sources of gluten, wheat, soy, and dairy products. Choosing a product that is specifically dairy-free, gluten-free, or even tree nut-free, will help eliminate any problems once they are brought home.

Lutz’s ingredients in her recipes include items probably already in your pantry. One of her goals was to create recipes with ingredients that were accessible to most readers. Fresh fruits and vegetables, applesauce, pure maple syrup, grains and rice, dried beans, xanthan gum, and vegetable broths, are all relatively easy to find at the store, and make up the bulk of her recipes.

Welcoming Kitchen Cookbook Overview and Chapters

Welcoming Kitchen has 10 recipe chapters, in addition to a listing of different menus created from the recipes, including a cocktail party, holiday dinner, and game day buffet. The recipes cover the basics: Appetizers & Snacks; Salads & Soups; Lunches & Dinners; Grains & Beans; Vegetables; Pasta Options; Sidekicks; Muffins & Breads, Breakfasts; and Desserts. The helpful resource list in the back includes organizations with their contact information that specialize in food sensitivity.

Recommended for Those with Food Allergies

Lutz’s goal to find foods that could ‘welcome’ everyone in the kitchen, no matter what allergy or dietary restriction, was successful. Readers who are vegans, or lactose-intolerant, or even if they have a food allergy, can all cook tasty meals from the same book. Since most recipes include ingredients found easily, anyone wanting to incorporate low-fat and healthy foods into family meals would find this book ‘welcoming’ in their kitchen.

Artichoke Fritters
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Ingredients
  1. 1 15-ounce can artichoke hearts
  2. 1 cup cornmeal
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic pepper
  4. 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  5. 1/2 cup rice milk
  6. Canola oil
Instructions
  1. Drain and thoroughly rinse artichoke hearts, and then drain again. Slice artichoke hearts in half.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine cornmeal, garlic pepper, and cayenne if using. 3. Pour rice milk into another bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a medium skillet until shimmery.
  4. Dip artichokes, one at a time, into the rice milk, then into the cornmeal mixture. Use a spoon to ensure that all of the artichoke is covered.
  5. Fry the artichokes until golden on one side, and then turn to cook on the other side. Place cooked artichokes onto a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.
Sand & Succotash http://www.sandandsuccotash.com/

Book Information

  • Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes; by Kim Lutz
  • Sterling, 2011
  • ISBN13: 9781402771859
  • Hardcover with Jacket, 256 pages

Recipe reprinted with permission from Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher and any opinions are my own.