|08 Getting Started in Your Sorcerer's Wholefood Kitchen:
Katriona Forrester & Marlise Binetti-Kupper
|The Starter Pak and Four Countdown Menus
This section provides a checklist of useful utensils, a shopping list of ingredients, and four irresistible step-by-step meals. After you have your ingredients and utensils together you could theoretically lock yourself into the house and not come out until four meals and several leftovers later. The neighbours may wonder why unused cans of green peas and syrupy peaches are flying out your window, but you'll know you have finally traded 'canned' for 'live' in the form of a dazzling array of gleaming beans, grains, and vegetables.
(Ed: this section also contains some dynamite recipes: just keep reading and reading and reading....
The Sorcerer's Kitchen
Before we go any further, take a quick look around your kitchen. Is your first reaction to scream, slam the door and run? Or is your kitchen a place, however small and simple, that you feel great in? The nature of a kitchen is to be a place filled with creation, so you need to consider which are the tools and components you need to fully realize this. I guess the basic essentials of any kitchen can be pared down to fire, water, and counter space. Beyond that, various priorities are; practicality, ease in cleaning, coziness, warmth, and an inviting stool or two for friends to perch on while chatting or children to climb up on while they watch and help you. Having the things that are meaningful to you close at hand; little jars and bottles of herbs, seeds, spices, condiments, fresh plants in the sunlit window also help increase the chi energy of a room. In such an atmosphere, one can practically feel the urge to discover, experiment, and conjure up the most amazing of repasts.
Having the right cooking utensils makes your time in the kitchen more efficient and improves your chances of top-notch results. Check if you have most of the utensils on the following list or if you can do some creative substitution for the ones you don't have. Be assured that every investment in your tools of the art will more than repay itself in service.
Utensils Check List
Good vegetable knife. The Japanese style rectangular or slanted shape are two recommended types which are especially designed for vegetable cutting. There are many other good professional knives available as well. The important point is to get a knife with good weight, balance, and size for you. Once you've experienced the ease and speed of an excellent knife you will never be satisfied with a dinky paring knife again!
Flat cutting board (ever tried cutting on a warped one?), preferably wood
Vegetable steamer. The gizmos with the petals that flop out to hold vegetables in any size pot above the steaming water are very practical , but they almost always start shedding petals and breaking legs off. In fact it seems every wholefoods household I know of has at least several of these decrepit creatures lurking in the dark recesses of some cupboard. Bamboo steamers, couscous type steamers,or just a good sized sieve over a pot of boiling water all work just about as well and usually hold up longer.
Stainless steel pressure cooker. Saves time, cooks grains and beans thoroughly. Modern ones are safer than Grandma's was.
A couple of heavy bottomed,tight lidded pots.These are a must for slow and mellow cooking styles. They should be of a non-aluminium material. Cast iron, enamelled cast iron, or durable ceramic pots are ideal.
Lighter weight stainless steel or enamelled steel pots of various sizes for blanching, steaming, making sauces , soups, and boiling your pasta.
Skillet, medium weight. If you've got a strong forearm you could go for the cast iron heavies, they are great for roasting seeds and sauteeing.
Ultra light skillets are fine for stir-fry, but quickly burn anything that is not kept moving. Non-stick surfaces may release toxic substances. Stainless steel, rolled steel, and light weight cast iron skillets are all excellent choices.
Flame tamer. Helps regulate fine differences in temperature, especially during longer cooking periods. You could use a couple of flat pie tins stacked inside each other instead.
Wooden spoons with long handles. Extra length chopsticks are especially good for those times you want to pick and stir rather than smash and mash.
Wire mesh skimmer. Useful for retrieving vegetables from their blanching water or for deep-frying.
Colander or basket for draining pastas and blanched vegetables.
Vegetable scrub brush , natural fibre.
A cauldron (in case you really get carried away with the notion of food as magic).
Variety of exquisite and/or funky serving dishes.
The Starter Pack Shopping List
The Starter Pak lists all the ingredients needed for the four following countdown menus. It also serves as a very basic stock list for outfitting any wholefoods kitchen. If you have these items you can create a thousand variations. If you've got more, well, the possibilities may be endless.
whole grains- brown rice, millet
pasta - choose from: wholewheat, 'wheat & soy', or buckwheat, or partially refined-organic)
bread - wholewheat, maybe sourdough
lentils - brown, green, black, or red
nuts - almonds or hazelnuts
seeds - sesame or sunflower seeds
spreads - peanut butter or other nut butter spread
dried fruit - raisins, natural dried fruit
pickles, sauerkraut, black or green olives
sea vegetables - wakame or kombu, and nori sea salt
shoyu - soy sauce of organic quality , made with sea salt and no artificial colourings or additives.
miso - (barley or rice miso) of high quality
cold pressed oil - choose local products if good quality is available. Choose from sesame oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, olive oil , safflower oil
sour taste - lemon, rice vinegar, or apple vinegar
hot stuff - mustard, ginger, garlic, or horseradish
spices and herbs - cinnamon, basil, black pepper, fresh garden herbs
thickening agent - arrowroot, kuzu, or cornstarch
natural sweetener - one or more of the following~ rice malt, barley malt, corn malt, apple concentrate, pear concentrate, or maple syrup
fresh, organic vegetables - variety of roots, rounds, and leafy greens
fresh seasonal fruit
snacks - at least one package of your favourite natural cookies or crackers
beverages - instant grain coffee, kukicha twig tea, herbal tea
COUNTDOWN MENUS - Quantities for 4-6 people.
Countdown menus were created with the wholefoods novice in mind. These recipes will lead you hand-in-hand through the various steps of creating four lusciously balanced meals. Aware of the busy schedule you most likely keep we have included two fast-paced on-the-run menus. If you are cooking for only one or two people, you can simply reduce the quantities by half in most of the recipes. It is difficult, however, to cook less rice, millet, or lentils. So, for these recipes, you may just count on having extra to use as leftovers. See Chapter 3, The Rotation System for ideas.
ONE HOUR COUNTDOWN MENU
*Starter Pak Brown Rice
*Basic Lentil Stew
- Begin your preparations by washing the rice and putting it on to cook.
- As soon as the rice is on, start the lentil stew.
While lentils and rice are merrily cooking along;
- Make the apple dessert, place in dessert bowls.
- Wash and cut the broccoli.
- Steam the broccoli.
- Adjust final seasoning to lentils.
- Remove pressure cooker of rice from flame and reduce pressure.
- Remove broccoli from steamer and sprinkle with lemon juice and shoyu.
- Serve rice, lentils, and broccoli, rounding out your meal with pickles or a condiment.
(This menu might take you a little longer if you don?t have a pressure cooker and especially if you are reading the book and chewing on cookies in between. With practice however it really won?t take over an hour.)
STARTER PAK BROWN RICE
2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
2 pinches seasalt
1. Rinse rice with cold water in a sieve.
2. Place rice, water, and salt in pressure cooker.
3. Bring to full pressure on high flame.
4. Lower flame, place flame tamer under pot.
5. Cook 45-50 minutes.Remove from flame.
6. Bring down pressure and remove rice from cooker.
BASIC LENTIL STEW
1 cup lentils
2 cups water
4 tablespoons oil
2 medium carrots
2 medium onions
1 clove garlic
1 small piece of kombu sea vegetable
1 teaspoon seasalt
1 tablespoon mustard
chives for garnish
1. Check through the lentils for stones. Wash in a sieve.
2. Place lentils and water in a heavy casserole pot. Bring to boil on a high flame, scoop off any foam from the surface, add kombu, cover, and reduce flame to simmer.
3. Wash carrots and peel onion. Dice both.
4. Sautee the onions, garlic, and carrots in the oil 5 minutes.
5. Add sauteed vegetables to lentils. Check water level several times during cooking. Top it up if necessary to just cover the mixture.
6. Continue to simmer 15-20 minutes more until the lentils and the vegetables are soft.
7. Add the salt and mustard, mix well, and simmer an additional 5 minutes to blend the flavors.
8. Garnish with chopped chives.
1 bunch broccoli
1. Wash the broccoli and cut into bite sized florets.
2. Place in a steamer, over lightly boiling water, cover with lid.
3. Steam until just tender, but still colorful, about 3-5 minutes.
4. Remove and add a few drops of lemon juice and shoyu to taste.
small handful of raisins
1 cup apple juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon kuzu or arrowroot
optional : roasted, chopped hazelnuts for topping
1. Wash and cut apples in small pieces.
2. Bring apples, raisins, and cinnamon to boil in apple juice.
3. Simmer 10 minutes.
4. Cream kuzu or arrowroot in 1 tablespoon COLD water.
5. Remove from flame, add kuzu, stirring constantly.
6. Return to low flame and continue stirring until it boils and the glaze turns clear.
7. Place in dessert bowls and sprinkle with nuts garnish.
8. May be served hot or cold.
HALF HOUR COUNTDOWN MENU
*Tasty Tofu Bake
*Sweet and Sour Stir Fried Vegetables
*Extra Bits: Toasted Nori, Mustard, and Sauerkraut
-Slice tofu and marinate 15 minutes.
-Put millet on to cook.
-While millet cooks, wash and cut vegetables.
-l5 minutes before serving time, place tofu in the oven.
-10 minutes before serving time, cook vegetables.
-Prepare Extra Bits for table.
1/2 cup millet
1 1/2 cups water
1 pinch sea salt
1. Boil water and sea salt.
2. Wash millet in sieve
3. Add millet to boiling water.
4. Reduce flame to low, cover, simmer 20 minutes.
5. Remove from pan, fluff, serve hot.
TASTY TOFU BAKE
1 small block fresh tofu (200 grams)
1 tablespoon shoyu
1 teaspoon oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard
1 clove garlic
1. Drain excess water off the tofu and cut the block into slices, 1 1/2 cm thick.
2. Place slices in an oven-proof dish.
3. Mix the shoyu, oil , mustard, and garlic in a cup and pour over the tofu slices. Let stand 10 minutes.
4. Bake in moderate oven, 15 minutes, until most of the marinade is absorbed.
5. Sprinkle bread crumbs on the top, last 5 minutes of baking.
6. Serve from the baking dish, piping hot.
SWEET AND SOUR STIR FRIED VEGETABLES
2-3 chinese cabbage leaves
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon shoyu
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1. Wash and cut the vegetables in very thin, even strips.
2. Heat oil over medium-high flame in a skillet or Chinese wok.
3. Add vegetables in the listed order, keeping them constantly moving with a wooden spoon or long chopsticks. Add salt along with the carrots. Allow 1-2 minutes before adding the next vegetable. Keep tossing them around for another 5 minutes, till they just start to become soft, but are still colourful and a bit crunchy.
4. Sprinkle with shoyu, toss, turn off flame.
5. Serve immediately.
-Nori -1/2 sheet per person, roast by waving one sheet of nori gently over a gas flame or directly above the electric burner.
-Sauerkraut - serve a small amount, raw.
FIFTEEN MINUTES COUNTDOWN MENU
*Green Salad with Black Olives
and Lemon Sesame Dressing
-Put water on to boil.
- (Optional: open bottle of Italian red wine and let stand at room temperature).
-Wash and tear salad, arrange with olives and pickles in salad bowl, and add dressing.
- Add spaghetti to boiling water.
-Prepare tofu, basil sauce.
- Arrange on plates.
(a quick take -off on the beloved classic pesto basil sauce)
200 grams spaghetti
2 litres water
1/2 teaspoon seasalt
200 grams tofu
250 grams spinach
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh or dried basil
1 tablespoon shoyu
1. Bring water to a fast boil, add salt and the spaghetti.
2. Heat the oil on a medium flame in a skillet, crumble tofu directly into skillet, add chopped spinach, saute 3 minutes. Stir in herbs and shoyu. Remove from heat.
3. Strain spaghetti, rinse briefly.
4. Serve pasta straight onto the plates and simply spoon presto sauce over each portion.
GREEN SALAD WITH BLACK OLIVES AND LEMON SESAME DRESSING
1 head lettuce
few drops lemon juice
few drops olive oil
sprinkle of roasted sesame seeds
few black olives
1. Wash and drain your choice of lettuce.
2. Tear leaves into bite sized pieces.
3. Arrange on plate with olives.
4. Sprinkle directly with a few drops of olive oil, lemon juice, and crushed sesame seeds.
FIVE MINUTES FLAT MENU - for one person
*Soup in a Cup for One
*Peanut Butter-Sauerkraut Sandwich
-Bring water for the soup to a boil and complete the soup.
-Make sandwich while soup cools to eating temperature.
-Sit down and eat.
- Stick an apple in your pocket and run........
SOUP IN A CUP FOR ONE
1 cup water
1/2 sheet nori sea vegetable
1 spring onion
1 tablespoon shoyu
optional: dash of black pepper
1. Put water on to boil.
2. Wash and chop the spring onions, add to boiling water. Save a few of the green stalks to garnish.
3. Reduce flame, cover, simmer 1 minute.
4. Tear up nori into little pieces.
5. Add nori and shoyu, and turn off flame. Garnish. Finished.
PEANUT BUTTER-SAUERKRAUT SANDWICH
1. Take 2 slices of bread.
2. Slab peanut butter on it.
3. Pile on a generous layer of sauerkraut
Just what its name says, tuck it in and go.
ONE MINUTE MEAL CONTEST
Five minutes was the fastest menu we thought we could be responsible for, but we've been asking around trying to find the best menus that break the magic ONE MINUTE MEAL barrier. We, as authors of a book on healthy food accept no liability as to the nutritional balance of any of the following suggestions !
Todd: "A rice cracker with peanut butter and smashed banana. "
Chrigi : (Harried mother of four.) "Eat a carrot."
Saul: (Futuristic body work instructor) "Natto (Japanese fermented soybean delicacy) and mustard on rye bread.? ?So what if the natto is still partially frozen, it adds that extra little crunch."
Mario: (A husband) "Tuna in a tin."
Denny: (Slightly nervous teacher.) "Toasted peanuts and (grain) coffee."
Suso: "Look for a kiosk, or skip it."
Carolyn: (An up and coming composer with a cause.) "Pour a few raisins into one hand, pour some toasted sunflower seeds into the other hand, toss them both into your mouth at the same time."
Justin: (When he was about 7) "Break a rice cracker and dip it in the rice malt jar."
Hunny: (She doesn't even have an excuse) "Dip spoon in malt and then into toasted sunflowerseeds ." (even tackier still!!)
Katie: "Dip a dill pickle in mustard and wash it down with good beer." (There?s no accounting for British taste.)
Kauko: (Hard-core Scandinavian) "Ginger pickles on rice crackers chased by Finnish vodka."
Angelika: (Wild plants specialist) "You are standing in the salad."
Martin: (Basketball player with a BIG appetite) "You mean what all I can eat in one minute??????"
© Copyright Marlise Binetti-Kupper & Katriona Forrester 2003
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