Food for a Retreat

Salad, roasted broccoli & red onions, butternut squash & kale lasagna with hazelnuts

I rushed from the airport Wednesday afternoon (just arrived from visiting family in North Carolina) to the Santa Cruz Farmer’s Market to gather produce for the women’s singing and yoga retreat with Heather Houston and Jaclyn Long at Skyote Mountain on Saturday. Lots of winter squash! And Happy Boy Farm still had the wonderful watermelon radishes I had shared with my family in NC last week.

Saturday morning I made chai for the group, perfect for the rainy, foggy day. I make my chai without the black tea or milk–that way each person can add what they like. I offered organic 2% milk, coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk, along with honey, organic sugar, or stevia for sweetener. My mix doesn’t really need sweetener, as the licorice root and star anise sweeten it enough for most.


For 6 cups

2-inch piece fresh ginger, cut into thin rounds (you don’t need to peel it, just rinse first)

2 cinnamon sticks

½ teaspoon black peppercorns

½ teaspoon whole cloves

10 whole cardamom pods (crushed a bit in a mortar & pestle)

1 tablespoon dried licorice root

A few star anise

6 cups cold water

Bring a pot of water to a simmer with the spices in it and simmer for about 20 minutes. You can just put everything directly in the pot and then strain it out when it’s done. I usually use a large tea ball for the peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, and licorice, then add the ginger and cinnamon sticks directly to the water.

When it’s ready, add as much milk or alternative milk as you like. If you are adding a lot of milk, you might heat it first so it doesn’t cool down the chai. The mix without milk can also be stored in the refrigerator and then mixed with milk before heating up.  If you want it with black (or green, or white) tea, just pour the chai over the tea and brew for the appropriate time before or after adding the milk. (Remember that the casein in milk may diminish the antioxidant effect of the tea–studies appear to be inconclusive on this).

The dinner menu:

Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna with Hazelnuts

Roasted Broccoli & Red Onions

Salad of Happy Boy Farm Baby Greens with watermelon radishes, carrots, cucumber

Gluten-free Multigrain Miracle bread

Flourless Chocolate Cake & ice cream (plus pistachio halvah that Vladi brought)

Flourless Chocolate Cake with ice cream and pistachio halvah


Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna with Hazelnuts

3 cups 2% reduced-fat milk

1/4 cup gluten-free flour mix (I use a mixture of 2 parts brown rice flour, 2/3 of one part potato starch, and 1/3 of one part tapioca flour)

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup diced onions

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

1/3 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

8 cups (3/4-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 2 1/4 pounds)

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 lb. kale, large ribs removed, chopped

9 cooked lasagna noodles (8 ounces uncooked noodles)

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Asiago cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) grated fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Cook milk in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; keep warm.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Melt butter in a medium nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add onions; cook 2 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat; add flour to pan, and cook 5 minutes or until smooth and golden, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add about 2 tablespoons warm milk to flour mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk. Gradually add remaining warm milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, until mixture is smooth, stirring constantly with a whisk.

Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and cook until smooth and thickened. Remove from heat. Mix in chopped hazelnuts. Cover and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Place squash in a large bowl. Add vinegar; toss to coat. Add 1 tablespoon oil; toss to coat. Arrange squash in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and thyme. Bake at 425° for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

Combine remaining 1 teaspoon oil, red pepper, and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium heat; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add kale, about 1/3 at a time; cook until wilted, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook until liquid evaporates, stirring frequently.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°.

Spoon 1/3 cup milk mixture in bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over milk mixture; top with kale mixture, 2/3 cup milk mixture, 1/2 cup Asiago, and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Arrange 3 noodles over cheese; top with squash mixture, 2/3 cup milk mixture, remaining 1/2 cup Asiago, and 1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Arrange remaining 3 noodles on top of cheese; spread remaining 1/2 cup milk mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 piece)

Adapted from a recipe in Cooking Light, DECEMBER 2006, by Krista Montgomery, M.S., R.D.

Salad Dressings

Kripalu House Dressing (I used half the amount of oil and it is still delicious)

Tahini Lemon Miso Dressing

1/2 cup tahini

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cups water

2 tablespoons barley miso

1 teaspoons cumin seed, ground

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 clove garlic

1/2 teaspoon tamari

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients in food processor or blender.

Servings: 12 (2 tablespoons per serving)

Calories 66.79, Total Fat 5.61g, Saturated Fat 0.78g, Sodium 231.42mg, Carbohydrates 3.01g, Fiber 0.96g, Sugar 0.12g, Protein 2.03g

Poppy Seed Dressing

1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt

1/4 cup light mayonnaise

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp poppy seeds

1 tablespoon red vinegar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Combine in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

Servings: 6 (2 tablespoons per serving)

Calories 29.2, Total Fat 1.59g, Saturated Fat 0.24g, Sodium 37.19mg, Carbohydrates 3.18g, Fiber 0.07g, Sugar 2.65g, Protein 0.8g

Goat Cheese Papaya Mango Dip

It’s been raining here, and I’ve been sitting at the computer and working for way too many hours this week. We got out Friday night for a visit with old friends (you can see what we munched on in meal 3 on 3.16). I whipped up a dip to bring with the raw celery, orange peppers, kohlrabi, and carrots:

Goat Cheese Papaya Mango Dip

6 ounces goat cheese
6 ounces Trader Joe’s papaya mango salsa
6 ounces hearts of palm
1 teaspoon curry powder

1. Whiz in food processor until it reaches the desired texture.

Servings: 4
Calories 126, Total Fat 7g, Saturated Fat 5g, Cholesterol 30mg, Sodium 610mg , Potassium 83mg, Total Carbohydrates 8g, Fiber 1g, Sugar 3g, Protein 3g

Shared meal & peasant bread

Friday night was a delicious meal of shared food, with new and old friends who came to visit. I made lentil soup and peasant black bread, and they brought endive with fruit/nut/cheese filling, stuffed baby portobellos, potatoes with aioli, sliced orange, and homemade chocolates with dried blueberries and nuts.

Peasant Black Bread with sunflower seeds

1 cup sourdough starter
1 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
120 grams rye flour (1 cup)
390 grams whole wheat flour (3.25 cups)
1/4 cup gluten flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander seed
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon flax seed meal (ground flax seeds)
72 grams sunflower seeds

1. Mix all of the ingredients by hand, mixer, or bread machine till you’ve created a smooth, elastic dough. Because the consistency of sourdough starters vary, you may need to add a bit of extra flour or water; the dough should be medium-soft but not sticky. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Turn the dough onto a lightly greased or floured surface, and form it into a fat log. Make about 4 slices across the top of the loaf. Place the log into an Italian stoneware baker (cloche) that’s been greased on the bottom, or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaf, and let it rise for about 30 minutes..

3. If you’re baking in a covered stoneware baker, place the bread into a cold oven, set the oven to 400°F, and bake for 40 minutes. Check the bread, and bake for a bit longer, if necessary; the internal temperature should be about 197°F when measured on an instant-read thermometer. If you’re baking on a sheet pan, preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until the bread is brown. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Servings: 22
Nutrition Facts Serving size: 2 oz.
Calories 138; Total Fat 2.3g; Saturated Fat 0.2g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 160mg; Potassium 145.5mg; Total Carbohydrates 24.3g; Fiber 3.5g; Sugar 0.2g; Protein 5g

Winter Squash Minestrone Soup

As promised, a hearty winter soup. We enjoyed this as is the first night, then added veggie sausage after that, for more protein.

Winter Squash Minestrone Soup

1 tablespoon olive oil
221 grams onion , chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
615 grams winter squash, peeled & cubed
179 grams carrots, chopped
116 grams parsnips, chopped
107 grams celery, chopped
453 grams potato, chopped
2 1/2 cups  vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups  water
138 grams kale, chopped
15 ounces can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

Heat oil in a large soup pot on medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add squash, carrots, parsnips, celery, potatoes, oregano, salt, pepper, broth, and water and cook for 10 minutes or until the potatoes are almost done. Add kale and beans and simmer another 8 minutes, until kale is tender and beans are hot.

Servings: 7
Yield: 3.5 quarts – 2 cup servings

Nutrition Facts
Calories 375.03, Total Fat 2.84g, Saturated Fat 0.47g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 178.31mg, Potassium 2168.78mg, Total Carbohydrates 73.71g, Fiber 14.77g, Sugar 5.92g, Protein 18.25g

Source: originally from Moosewood Daily Specials. I added parsnips and vegetable broth.

Cranberry Scones & Lemon Curd

I love scones, and though these are somewhat different than the ones made with white flour, I find them quite satisfying. Especially with lemon curd!

Cranberry Scones

2 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sucanat
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons chilled butter
1 cup frozen cranberries
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
3/4 cup buttermilk

1. Combine first 6 ingredients in food processor. Add cut up pieces of butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cranberries and orange rind and pulse a few times. Pour into a bowl and add yogurt, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.

2. Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface, and knead 4 or 5 times. Pat dough into an 8 inch circle and cut into 12 wedges. Place on baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 450°F for about 12 minutes.

Servings: 12

Calories 159.76, Calories From Fat (24%) 38.94, Total Fat 4.45g , Saturated Fat 2.6g, Cholesterol 10.79mg, Sodium 201.2mg, Total Carbohydrates 28.29g, Fiber 3.51g, Sugar 9.21g, Protein 4.01g

Lemon Curd

I used to make the lemon curd from Bread, by Beth Hensperger, then used a recipe from Cooking Light that was a bit lighter in fat and just as good. Now I’ve reduced the sugar even further.

1 cups sugar
2 Tbs lemon rind, freshly grated
4 large eggs
1 1/3 cups fresh lemon & lime juice
4 Tbs unsalted butter

1. Combine sugar, lemon rind, & eggs in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook until sugar dissolves and mixture is light in color (about 3 minutes). Stir in butter and lemon juice, cook until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon, stirring constantly. Pour into 1/2 pint jars and cover. Cool and store in refrigerator.

Servings: 48
Yield: 3 cups (serving=1 Tblsp.)

Calories 32.42, Calories From Fat (38%) 12.17, Total Fat 1.37g, Saturated Fat 0.74g, Cholesterol 20.17mg, Sodium 6.04mg, Potassium 15.14mg, Total Carbohydrates 4.84g, Fiber 0.03g, Sugar 4.37g , Protein 0.56g

A New Year of Eating, Dancing & Recipes

I’m starting the year off right – I vowed to re-establish consistency on my morning movement practice, which is feeling very good. My body is grateful! My practice is simple: I light a candle, center myself, and then spend 20 minutes moving. What I do varies depending on my energy and inspiration. It can be stretching on the floor, it can be a ballet barre, it can be strength exercises (though I usually do those separately later on in the day when I’m at home). Usually, it is a combination of things, a dance that emerges in response to my mood and whatever music I have put on. I finish with a meditation. Altogether it’s about 1/2 hour that gets my day going right.

For winter holiday gifts I gave away lemon curd and mango apple chutney this year along with baked goodies. The mango apple chutney is a wonderful addition to cottage cheese and red bell peppers – see M2 on the Jan 3rd food collage.

Mango Apple Chutney

546 g        mango, peeled, seeded and chopped
400 g     raisins
465 g    red onion, chopped
240 g dates
367 g     apple, chopped
2        cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 cup     honey
3/4 cup     cider vinegar
1/2 tsp    ground cinnamon

In medium skillet combine mango, raisins, onion, dates, apple and garlic. In bowl combine honey, cider vinegar and cinnamon. Pour into skillet and mix well. Bring to boil, decrease heat to high simmer and cook for about 40 minutes stirring occasionally. Cool and refrigerate for up to 10 days. (May be canned using the USDA canning guidelines.)

Servings: 64
Yield: 8 cups – 2 tbsp per serving
Nutrition Facts – Amount Per Serving
Calories 67.79, Calories From Fat (1%) 0.56, Total Fat 0.07g, Saturated Fat 0.01g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 1.51mg, Potassium 92.74mg, Total Carbohydrates 18.02g, Fiber 0.72g, Sugar 16.05g, Protein 0.37g

Flourless Goodies

I have a few friends who can’t have wheat or gluten. I made sure I baked some goodies that they would be able to eat over the holidays. Here are two of my favorites.

Flourless Espresso Choco Gems

This is a new one for me, from the December 2011 issue of Prevention magazine. I didn’t get around to the confectioner’s sugar, and they were delicious without!

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp espresso powder
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 Tbs confectioners sugar

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and coat 2 12-cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray.

2. Combine chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler, stir until melted. Off the heat, whisk in the sugar, vanilla extract, and espresso powder. Whisk in eggs until well combined. Sift cocoa powder over top and whisk until smooth.

3. Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake until cakes have risen, 8-12 minutes. Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Carefully remove gems from tins and cool on rack. Dust with confectioners sugar.

Servings: 24
Amount Per Serving
Calories 99.22
Calories From Fat (57%) 56.59
Total Fat 6.36g
Saturated Fat 3.83g
Cholesterol 36.61mg
Sodium 9.68mg
Potassium 37.46mg
Total Carbohydrates 9.77g
Fiber 0.59g
Sugar 7.87g
Protein 1.65g

Flourless Poppy Seed Cake

I found this on the Chocolate and Zucchini blog a few years ago and have made it several times, to great acclaim each time.

For the cake:
60 g (1/4 cup) butter, softened
60 g (1/4 cup) whole almond butter (or other smooth nut butter)
125 g (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) light brown raw cane sugar
the zest of an organic orange, finely grated
4 eggs, separated
100 g (1 cup) ground almonds (a.k.a. almond meal)
160 g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) poppy seeds
a good pinch of salt
5 g (1 teaspoon) baking powder*
For the orange glaze:
30 g (1/4 cup) confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp freshly squeezed orange juice

1. Preheat the oven to (350° F) and grease a (8-inch in diameter and 2-inch-deep) round cake pan. (Alternatively, you can bake the batter in paper-lined muffin molds; the recipe will yield 12 regular muffins.)

2. In the bowl of a mixer, combine the butter, almond butter, 100 grams (1/2 cup) sugar, and the orange zest. Cream together for 2 minutes. Add the egg yolks and mix until fluffy.

3. Combine the ground almonds and poppy seeds in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4. In a clean, grease-free bowl, combine the egg whites with the salt and baking powder. Using an electric whisk, beat until the egg whites are fluffy. Add the remaining 25 grams (2 tablespoons) of sugar, and keep beating until the egg whites form a smooth and glossy mass.

5. Working with a light hand, add one third of the egg whites to the first mixture. Fold in half of the poppy seed mixture. Add another third of the egg whites, folding it in gently with a spatula. Fold in the remaining poppy seed mixture, and add the last of the egg whites, working very gently to keep as much air as possible in the egg whites, until the egg whites are completely incorporated. Don’t worry if the mixture is a little lumpy.

6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes (20 minutes for muffins), until puffy and lightly brown. Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside to set for another 10 minutes.

7. Transfer to a cooling rack, let cool for 10 more minutes. Run a knife around the cake to loosen, unmold, and let cool completely before glazing, if possible.

8. Put the confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl, pour in a teaspoon of orange juice, and whisk it in with a fork to form a smooth paste. Whisk in a little more orange juice, drop by drop, until the mixture is thin enough to be easily spreadable, but not yet runny. Pour the glaze on the cake and let it set somewhere cool.

Servings: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209.45
Calories From Fat (75%)
Total Fat 18.45g
Saturated Fat 4.2g
Cholesterol 81.25mg
Sodium 95.18mg
Potassium 178.49mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.36g
Fiber 2.87g
Sugar 2.67g
Protein 7.58g

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Moving into Winter

The past few days have been cloudy and short, and I have been busy at the computer. Other than my weekly trip to Santa Cruz for the farmer’s market and other errands, and walking and interval running around our land, I’ve been inside, quietly working away on projects. I have had less holiday baking inspiration than usual. There were years that I began my holiday baking spree right after Thanksgiving, freezing and storing goodies to put in baskets (or plates, or colorful kitchen towels, or other creative containers I came up with over the years) for friends and relatives. There’s still time, and I have a little list of possibilities, some tried and true, others new and interesting. We’ll see what I manage to produce in the next week! Meanwhile, I’ll share one of my favorite snack recipes – any of you who’ve been following my daily food collages will have seen these squares. You can see one on 12.13.2011, just below, next to the carrots in Meal 2. I’ve been baking them with dried fruit, but the original inspiration for them, Clotilde Dusoulier’s Chocolate & Zucchini blog, used chocolate chips and I’ve made them that way as well.

Here’s the latest version:

Banana Oat Almond Plum Apricot Bar

16 oz ripe bananas
60 grams almond butter (60 g)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
200 grams rolled oats (2 cups)
60 grams ground almonds (a.k.a. almond meal)
3 serving protein powder (Show me the whey)
30 grams coconut, dried, unsweetened, low fat (1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
60 grams dried plums
60 grams dried apricots

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, almond butter, and Greek yogurt. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, protein powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the dried plums and apricots.

3. Spread into the prepared baking dish, level the surface, and slip into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, until the top is set and golden-brown. Let cool completely before slicing into bars. If you’re not serving all the bars at once, I suggest you cut out only what you need. Cover the rest with foil and keep at room temperature or in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

Servings: 16

Calories 141.2, Calories From Fat (33%) 46.09, Total Fat 5.49g, Saturated Fat 0.98g, Cholesterol 0.94mg Sodium 163.59mg, Potassium 144.05mg, Total Carbohydrates 17.71g, Fiber 2.25g, Sugar 7.13g
Protein 6.67g

Nutty Fruity Sourdough

Baked a loaf of Nutty Fruity Sourdough today – one of our favorite breads. The original recipe is from King Arthur’s Flour. I use white whole wheat flour instead of the all-purpose they suggest. And I let the bread machine do the mixing, then do a final knead myself and shape it to bake in the oven.

Nutty Fruity Sourdough with cranberries, raisins, apricots, walnuts

1 cup (about 8 ounces) sourdough starter
1 cup water
3/4 cup dark rye flour
2 1/2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) white whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, chopped

1. Mix all of the ingredients (except the fruit and nuts) by hand, mixer, or bread machine till you’ve created a smooth, elastic dough. Because the consistency of sourdough starters vary, you may need to add a bit of extra flour or water; the dough should be medium-soft but not sticky. Add the dried fruit and nuts, kneading until they’re evenly incorporated. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

2. Turn the dough onto a lightly greased or floured surface, and form it into a fat log. Place the log into an Italian stoneware baker that’s been greased on the bottom, or onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover the loaf, and let it rise for 1 hour, or until it springs back very slowly when lightly pressed.

3. If you’re baking in a covered stoneware baker, place the bread into a cold oven, set the oven to 400°F, and bake for 40 minutes. Check the bread, and bake for a bit longer, if necessary; the internal temperature should be about 195°F when measured on an instant-read thermometer. If you’re baking on a sheet pan, preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake for 28 to 32 minutes, until the bread is brown. Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

Servings: 24 2 oz. slices

Calories 142.92
Total Fat 3.61g
Saturated Fat 0.32g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 147.1mg
Potassium 118.93mg
Total Carbohydrates 24.57g
Fiber 3.66g
Sugar 5.65g
Protein 3.86g

Original Source: The King Arthur Flour Company