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Fast Lunch! Spinach Patty with Sauteed Greens… Happy Spring! (even with all this Michigan snow)

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

Spinach Patty and Sauteed Greens

What says **Spring** more than fresh greens? Well, green grass might be nice, but since all we have in Michigan is snow, this green-based lunch will have to do for now đŸ˜‰

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

Swiss chard and baby bok choy

 

I LOVE growing greens in my garden, though I admit I am still learning what they like best to thrive. These greens are from the supermarket (I was lucky enough to find organic on sale, less expensive than regular produce prices… be sure to look at the organic section, don’t assume it’s *always* pricier!)

 

 

Spinach patties cooling

Spinach patties cooling

So this lunch is not only pretty, it was super-quick! Yesterday I made a batch of the spinach balls that I posted on St. Patrick’s Day (omitted the bacon and reduced butter by half this time) and I made some of them into patties. (Patties were my husband’s idea! We thought they might make nice buns, but even though sturdy, they were a bit  heavy for that.) So today, I was looking at some of the pretty greens in my fridge, and thought that a quick saute of baby bok choy and a couple leaves of swiss chard (in coconut oil and a splash of vinegar) would be a perfect complement to the patty with a little melted cheese, tomato and gomasio!

It was delicious! I’m thinking that I’ll make this for dinner soon, keeping it light with a few shrimp or a bit of fish.

Spinach Patty and Greens!

Spinach Patty and Greens!

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Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Shirataki Noodle Salad

 

Either you like crispy chicken skin, or you don’t… we DO! Mmmmm! It’s such a wonderful combination of texture and taste, and a good source of healthy fats. So, for the crispy-skin-lovers out there, I hope you enjoy this simple chicken recipe!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken with Asian Inspired Salad

Most of the recipes I post here are for foods that traditionally contain wheat or high carbohydrate content, and that have been modified to fit into a grain-free, low-carb way of eating. This tends to include lots of baked goods… not because we eat lots of goodies (we don’t) but because that seems to be the hardest thing for people to convert within a new lifestyle.

This is a recipe that is just plain yummy, and it’s something I would have made in the pre-wheat-free days as well. If you enjoy a crispy skin on tender chicken, this recipe is a great base which can modified in numerous ways to fit the seasonings that you prefer or have on hand.

In this case, I was using Tamari, which is the gluten-free version of soy sauce, and it inspired me to season further with ginger, garlic powder, some fresh tarragon (because I had it on hand) and my homemade Gomasio. (If I’d had some green onion, I would have used it in place of the tarragon, but the tarragon was great!) Take note in the recipe that I pulled the skin back on the chicken to get the herbs and seasonings underneath. This helps to infuse the meat with wonderful flavor, and the skin to become nice and crispy, mmm. Don’t be afraid to mix up the flavors if you prefer lemon/garlic, blackened/cajun or any other combination you enjoy!

Shirataki Noodles

Shirataki Noodles

To accompany the chicken, I made a simple chopped salad of romaine lettuce, fresh avocado, cubed cucumber, shirataki noodles, slivered almonds and Gomasio, topped with a dressing I threw together that my husband ended up being crazy about. It’s very fresh tasting and was also an experiment in using the shirataki noodles in this way. Shirataki noodles are still a new ingredient to me, though I have been hearing about them for quite some time. They are in the refrigerated specialty section in some larger groceries, though they don’t carry them in my small town, so I picked some up when I was in a neighboring Kroger the other day. They are gluten-free and grain-free, and made of tofu, though I wouldn’t say that they have a tofu taste or texture. I quite liked them in this salad, and I also added some to a nice hot bowl of miso soup the other day, and enjoyed that as well!

Crispy Herbed Tamari Ginger Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken quarters (thigh/leg)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup tamari
  • 2Tb each fresh tarragon and parsley, finely chopped
  • garlic powder to taste
  • powdered ginger to taste
  • gomasio to taste
Seasoning under the skin

Seasoning under the skin

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Gently separate the chicken skin from the meat (leaving it attached at the sides) and brush under the skin with the tamari, season with the herbs and spices as desired (except gomasio). Pull the skin back into place and brush the chicken on both sides with tamari, season with herbs, spices and tamari. Bake for 45 minutes at 375, rotating the pan partway through cooking. Raise temp to 425 degrees and cook for another 10 minutes or until internal temperature reads 165. Serves 4.

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Asian Inspired Salad with Shirataki Noodles

Chopped Salad

Chopped Salad

Ingredients for Salad:

  • 2 cups chopped romaine hearts
  • 1 avocado, pitted and chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 C slivered almonds
  • 1 bag shirataki noodles, rinsed and drained
  • gomasio to taste

Ingredients for dressing:

  • 2-3 TB tamari
  • juice of one lime
  • 2TB honey/ginger balsamic vinegar
  • 3-4 TB sour cream
  • 1 tsp honey or sweetener to taste
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1TB fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Combine all salad ingredients in a bowl, set aside. Combine all dressing ingredients, and use as desired on salad.

 

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Sundried Tomato Basil Crackers with Almond Flour

Sundried Tomato Basil Almond Flour Crackers.

We haven’t had almond flour crackers in a while, so today I was thinking that I wanted to experiment with a different flavor combination. What came to mind was sundried tomato and basil, which is a classic pairing that we used to enjoy when we made home made bread (I know, I know… banish the thought!) The result was delicious! I also included homemade gomasio (sesame salt), since I just made a batch earlier today. This is a slightly chewier cracker than the ones I have done before that include shredded cheese, but very tasty and satisfying. They are super simple to make, I hope you enjoy!

Combine all ingredients in food processor.

 

Place dough between sheets of parchment, and roll out to 1/8″ thick

Cut into shapes, sprinkle with gomasio and bake per recipe instructions.

Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Don’t they look yummy?!

Sundried Tomato Basil Almond Flour Crackers

  • 1 C almond flour
  • 1 Tb olive oil (or coconut oil)
  • 2 Tb water
  • 1/4 C sundried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp gomasio (or 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste)
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  1. Heat oven to 325.
  2. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and combine until the mixture comes together.
  3. Form dough into a ball and flatten between 2 sheets of baking parchment.
  4. Using a rolling pin, roll dough evenly until about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Leaving the dough on the parchment, smooth out the jagged edges, and cut the crackers into squares or rectangles, whichever you prefer. (If desired, sprinkle with more gomasio before baking.)
  6. Gently separate crackers, keeping them on the bottom parchment, and bake for about 6 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven, carefully turn each cracker over, and put back in oven for an additional 4-6 minutes. Watch crackers carefully, as almond flour can burn easily.
  8. Remove to wire rack to cool.

Serve with cheese or toppings of your choice. We used extra sharp white cheddar today.

 

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Making Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

Gomasio

One of the beautiful things about the world of blogging is that we are in an atmosphere of sharing and learning. While some of my foodie counterparts are grain free, low carb and some are not, there is much to be learned all the way around when paying attention to other writers. Recently, I saw a post by the talented Julie Minten on her blog, Grano Salis, talking about home made gomasio. Hmmmm… I had no idea what gomasio was before that, not to mention that one could make it at home!

So that post of hers sparked an interest and I began investigating more about gomasio and why I might want to attempt to make a batch! It turns out that it is sesame salt, a condiment that is wonderfully flavorful while providing the health benefits of sesame seeds. It is an essential seasoning in macrobiotic diets, and allows one to use less salt while adding flavor.

I have a collection of mortars and pestles, but this is the largest and heaviest, which is perfect for this task.

According to an article by Harold Kulungian, gomasio has medicinal powers that include soothing digestion, adding energy, help in healing inflammatory disorders, and possibly even help with cancer and diabetes. He goes on to talk about how gomasio de-acidifies the blood which leads to more balanced health. His article also provides a recipe if you are interested in checking it out. One of the biggest keys is making sure to grind it by hand, not using a blender. He uses a suribachi (Japanese wooden, grooved mortar and pestle.) Gomasio is also featured in blogs that promote health and beauty, such as at Beauty is Wellness, where Jolene Hart talks about the health and beauty benefits of gomasio made with added seaweed.

After digging around, I was convinced that it would be worth the effort to make my own, and I also decided that I wanted to include some seaweed flakes in half of the batch. I have a nice amount of both white and black sesame seeds on hand as I picked some up recently at our bulk food store. I have sea salt as well as some earth salt that I wanted to include. While it did take awhile to crush by hand in the mortar and pestle, it is delicious and I know I will be keeping a supply on hand from now on! This is my own version, and it varies in salt content from some other recipes I found, but the salt I used seemed milder than usual, so I adjusted. (Scroll down past the images to see the entire recipe.)

Roasting the salts, getting all the moisture out in preparation for grinding with the mortar and pestle.

Toasting the sesame seeds to crisp them slightly and activate the oils. Do not over cook or burn, just get them to the point of crunching when squeezed.

Beginning to grind the sesame seeds and salt in my heavy mortar and pestle.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Grinding the seeds takes time. Be patient.

Finely chopping the seaweed sheets to add to a portion of the gomasio.

Gomasio {Sesame Salt}

  • 1 Tb sea salt (fine)
  • 1 Tb earth salt
  • 6 Tb white sesame seeds
  • 6 Tb black sesame seeds
  • 4 sheets (2″x3″) toasted seaweed (optional)
  1. Begin by roasting the salt over medium heat in a heavy skillet to remove moisture.
  2. Transfer to mortar and grind to a fine texture.
  3. Next, lower heat to medium/low and roast the sesame seeds, stirring frequently until they are lightly toasted and crunchy, but not dark.
  4. Carefully transfer to mortar with the salt and begin to grind in a gentle crushing motion to release the oils. Have patience, as grinding the seeds by hand will take some time. You may even want to consider this a sort of peaceful quiet or meditation time, just enjoying the process. It took me perhaps 20 minutes to get the consistency I desired, though you may prefer it finer.
  5. If you are not adding seaweed, you are done now, and can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. I found conflicting opinions on whether the seasoning should be refrigerated or not; some said it spoiled in the fridge, others said the opposite. As I can tell already, I will be using this quickly enough that I am just storing it in the pantry with my other seasonings.
  6. If using seaweed sheets, you may want to toast them further in your same skillet, just be sure that they are dry and easy to chop.
  7. When toasted, transfer to a cutting board, and using a large, heavy knife, finely dice the sheets into small flakes and add to the gomasio. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Here, I have used gomasio on freshly sliced garden cucmbers. Delicious!

 

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