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Pizza Rising

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Jayda Swenson is a paramedic with a past- and a secret. (Lisa Wilson Otto, the author of Heat Rising, is an EMT herself, so the details are scarily realistic.) When Jayda meets the new guy at work, Ben Tierney, both her carefully guarded issues threaten to be revealed. Her dead husband invented a horrific recipe for meth that she thought died with him, but the bodies showing up around town say otherwise. Plus there’s the mysterious matter of her blood condition- and Ben seems to know a lot more than he is letting on. Between fighting demons, saving lives, and sexytimes, Ben and Jayda spend time dissecting each other’s food choices. She’s a health nut, he’s a junk junkie. Perhaps, if someone made this vegan pizza for them, they could eat at the same table at last. Lisa is querying agents for this novel at current, so don’t look for it on Amazon just yet!

Pizza Rising

1 pkg active dry yeast
1 cup hot water
1 T sugar
1Tb olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cornmeal

3 Tb olive oil
3 minced cloves garlic

1 Tb olive oil
8 oz sliced baby bellas
2 leeks, finely chopped
1 Tb fennel seeds
2 Tb tomato paste
1/4 c red wine

Combine the first seven ingredients in a bowl, cover, and let it rise while you preheat the oven to 500. In this heat, I just stuck mine on the front porch. It doubled in 20 minutes flat.

On a small pan, heat the olive oil and garlic to a simmer, then remove from heat and set aside to infuse.

In the bottom of a cast-iron skillet, spread a bit of oil. Turn your dough into the pan, and spread it to the edges with cornmeal-y fingers. Pour the garlic-oil on top of the dough. Put the skillet on the stovetop and heat it over medium while you prepare your toppings. This will give that crunch to the crust.

In the garlic pan, heat the rest of the oil and add the mushrooms and leeks. Cook for a few minutes. When they look ready, add a pinch of salt, and the fennel seeds. Stir, and add the tomato paste and wine. When the “sauce” is coating the veggies, dump it all on your pizza. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 8-12 minutes.

Garnish your pizza as desired- I used fresh oregano and slivered almonds.

Serve with both kale and potato chips.

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Posted by on July 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Ella Minnow Pea Soup

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Remember in school, probably when you were quite small, learning about Nevin Nollop? Me either. But you probably remember learning his famous alphabetical phrase, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” In Mark Dunn’s charming novel “Ella Minnow Pea”, that phrase is near-worshipped by the citizens of Nollopia. Set on a fictional island off the coast of South Carolina, the story follows the eponymous Ella in her alphabetical adventures. The island’s inhabitants are quite infatuated with their single famous citizen- they have a gigantic statue inscribed with his phrase in the town square of the capital city. When the glue holding the letters on begins to fail, dropping one letter after another from the phrase, the High Council decrees they also be deleted from the islanders’ lexicon. The letters disappear from the novel as well. It’s sweet and silly, and a clever poke at what happens when radicals seize power and people stand by idly. So in homage, here is an alphabet soup, filled with chickpeas and green peas and all the glorious letters:

Ella Minnow Pea Soup

4 cups (1 box) vegetable broth
1 chopped stalk celery
1 onion, diced
1/4 cup dried chickpeas
2 Tb tomato paste
1 c frozen green peas
1 c alphabet pasta

Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Add peas and pasta, bring back to a simmer, and cook til pasta is tender.

Serve with bread, and while speaking the longest words you know!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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The Sambar in the Garden

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I grew up adoring, like so many little girls, The Secret Garden. No matter that I killed plants by merely glancing at them, or that my mother was alive and well just up the stairs (hi mom!); there’s something about that story that just feels possible. All children know that grownups keep secrets and behave entirely irrationally. Why couldn’t there be a hidden paradise, just beyond the boundary you are allowed to wander? Kamala Nair feels the same way. In The Girl in the Garden, she spins the classic tale into a modern story for grownups. Rakhee Singh is an unhappy Minnesotan daughter of Indian immigrants. When her mother whisks her suddenly off to the mysterious ancestral home in India, Rakhee is culture-shocked. Giant spiders, spotty electricity, and bathing in a bucket aren’t exactly par for the course in Minnesota. But as she explores the lush jungle around the crumbling mansion, Rakhee finds both her confidence and the key to unlocking her Mother’s hidden past. Naturally, the food descriptions have had me in a curry fit since I picked the book up. On her eleventh birthday, Rakhee requests her favorite lentil stew, sambar, for dinner. Please note that this will be a beautiful dish for you- mine is quite ugly because I had to substitute the stiff green lentils for the soft, supple red ones. I also use hibiscus instead of the traditional tamarind in this dish as a tribute to the flowers in Rakhee’s garden. Find at any Latin grocer, or substitute pomegranate juice for a similar flavor.

The Sambar in the Garden

2 Tb dried hibiscus flowers
3 cups water
1 onion, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
8 new potatoes, chopped
3/4 cup RED lentils (dal)
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
1 Tb mustard seed
1/2 tsp coriander seed
1 tsp cayenne (less if you’re wimpy)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cumin seed

In a large skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of oil and sauté all the vegetables until softened- about 10 minutes. While those are going, bring your water to a boil in a separate saucepan. Remove it from the heat and toss in the hibiscus. Let that steep while the veggies finish up. Grind the coconut and the spices together, either in a mortar and pestle or an old coffee grinder. Feeling lazy? Just replace the spice blend with 1 1/2 Tb of curry powder and toss the coconut in as-is. Sauté one minute longer, add the lentils, and the hibiscus water (flowers and all! They’re yummy.) Simmer for 20-30 minutes, or until the lentils are disintegrating into a mushy purée. If you’d like, you can mash your veggies as well with a potato masher.

Serves 4-6. Add rice or naan and a side of mango for a full meal.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Stirfry of Ding Village

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Dream of Ding Village is an awful story. Yan Lianke, the author, was censored by the Chinese government for it. What’s so awful? It’s based on true events that they would prefer not be publicized. In order to retrieve the amounts of blood being used by the big city blood banks, some intrepid members of government decided that the poor villages ought to be paid to sell blood. They swiftly accepted the offer and grew prosperous, right up until the frequent use of dirty needles set off an AIDS epidemic of unthinkable proportion.
In Hunan province, Ding Village is one of these. The Ding family sums up the whole situation: one son, dead of AIDS, the other preying on the dying to move his career forward even as his own son is murdered in revenge. The patriarch sets up a quarantine center for the victims in a school. Even amidst certain death, hysteria, and extreme poverty, life goes on. Lovers meet and marry, jealousies arise, and money and power are at the center of it all.
In the school, the fading patients still look forward to communal meals. With the lack of money comes often a lack of meat, so this may be something Ding Village would have eaten…
Stirfry for Ding Village
1/2 lb oyster mushrooms
1 sliced green bell pepper
1/2 lb (1 bunch) spicy greens
3 cloves sliced garlic
2 Tb black bean sauce
1-2 Tb soy

Heat a wok or heavy large skillet over medium high heat, and add a splash of cooking oil. When it spits at you, toss in the mushrooms and bell pepper. After stirfrying 1-3 minutes, the mushrooms should start to look cooked and the pepper will be losing some of its snap. Add the garlic and greens, stirring briefly before adding the black bean sauce and soy. Turn off the heat and let the steam finish wilting the greens.

Serves 2.

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Starter SuperTruffles

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Our inaugural book is called “Starters”, by Lissa Price. This is a badass YA dystopian (as opposed to the less cool ones, of which there are plenty) about a girl named Callie. She is 16, tough, and one of a dying breed: young people? A future world war resulted in a viral attack that killed the population between 20-60. Modern science has increased the lifespan of “Enders” to 150,+or-. The only option for an unclaimed minor (starter) to make money is to rent their body to an Ender… But what will they do with it?
The only real food mentioned in the novel are Supertruffles: vitamin infused chocolate. To the joy of PMS-ers everywhere, here’s an actually healthy Supertruffle recipe! They taste like chocolate-covered raisins had a baby with a brownie. Did I mention good for ya? You will note in the picture that mine aren’t totally smooth. That’s because I was too impatient to let my cashews soak. If you do, the texture will be much smoother.

Supertruffles
1 cup raw cashews, soaked 1 hour, for selenium, zinc, and phosphorous!
1/2 cup nut butter: I used almond, for protein and “good fats”!
1/2 cup cacao ( or baking cocoa), for the antioxidant power!
1/2 cup raw honey (or regular), for digestive health!
1/4 cup maple syrup, full of magnesium!
2 tb coconut flour, fiber-ful!
1tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt

Food processor: this dough is crazy thick. Ball ’em up. Try not to get busted by a Marshal.

 
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Posted by on May 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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