Improvise!


Sometimes I look in my fridge and try to figure out what to make based on what I have hanging about.  Today was no different.

I held the young coconut in my hand and said “OK, you are dinner.  What next….”

I googled ‘young coconut’ and ‘coconut noodle’ and other things, but always found I didn’t have some key ingredients for the recipes I found.  So today was ‘improvise’ day!

Sometimes “Improvise Day” turns out well, and other times I realize I shouldn’t quit my day job (which has more to do with computers than with food preparation).

Today was a good day.

I pulled the water and meat out of the young coconut, rinsed the meat, and cut into thin noodles.  Next, I shredded a carrot, and julienned about 1/4 of an orange sweet pepper.  After that, I meandered into the garden and brought in 5 large kale leaves, washed them and set them aside.

Next I scratched my head over the dressing.  Hmmmmm…….

Here was my base and, as you can tell by the measurements, this was also improvised:

Into the blender went…..

1/4 cup of the water from the coconut (the rest will go in my smoothie tomorrow morning! Yum!)

I had a dried red chili from last summer – I emptied it of seeds and threw it in

A handful of raw peanuts – probably about 1/4 cup

1 Tablespoon of coconut sugar (or whatever you prefer to use)

a clove of garlic

a little sea salt

1 Tblsp Miso

1 Tblsp Tamari

1 tsp of turmeric

1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice

about 1/4 inch piece of ginger

about 1 Tblsp coconut oil

I blended this up, gave it a taste, decided it wasn’t sweet enough, so added maybe 2 tablespoons of agave, which mellowed it out nicely.

Next, I put the kale (leafy greens only, no stems), coconut noodles, carrots, and orange pepper into the food processor and pulsed a few times until the kale was minced and the mixture resembled a larger chunked tabouli.

Like this…

Pulsed kale, coconut, carrot and sweet orange pepper.

Pulsed kale, coconut, carrot and sweet orange pepper.

Then I stirred in enough dressing to lightly coat and ate dinner!

Dinner is served!

Dinner is served!

Healthy, filling, and convenient, with ingredients I had on hand, or growing in the back yard.  The flavour would be complemented by orange sections (if you don’t have a young coconut laying about) and also, after a couple of bites, realize it would also be delicious with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.  I had enough left over to refrigerate a second helping, so we’ll see how well this keeps for a day.

Happy health to you all!

 

 

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KALE CHIPS! Om nom nom…


Yes, I really do love them. I’m not just telling myself that I love them because they’re healthy. That’s the truth.

A reader asked me quite a while back whether or not Kale Chips were as good as everyone says, and I told him that I would have to get back to him on it as the grocery store was actually out of kale the very weekend that the question was posed, and I hadn’t yet tried them otherwise.

Since then I have tried several commercially sold chips. And although I have tried several flavours that I loved, I do find them quite pricey.  $4 – $6 for a 100g bag makes them a bit of an extravagance.  However, this being said, they’re also worth it.  Packed full of wonderful nutrients and no chemicals or other crap, the store bought chips provide a wide variety of flavours, which is nice if you like to mix things up or get bored easily.  The store bought chips are also charging you for convenience, but if you’re going to impulse shop a snack, they’re the wiser choice.  I’ve tried a few kinds, from pineapple coconut, to spicy nacho, and cheesy flavour (which are not flavoured with cheese, but get their cheesy flavour from nutritional yeast), so I would say that there’s a flavour combination out there for everyone.

Kale is, itself, very mild in flavour.  It also doesn’t have a precise or overpowering aftertaste, like bitterness or sweetness.  Because of this, the kale takes on any flavour you throw at it and very little ‘leafy green’ taste comes through.  In short, it’s a great canvas for any taste you’re seeking.

If you’re interested in making a nice big batch at home, it’s pretty ‘effort-free’ and definitely less expensive than buying pre-made ones.  Making them with a dehydrator keeps them in the ‘raw’ category, but if this isn’t a pressing need for you, or if you don’t have a dehydrator, they can also be made in the oven.  There are a buh-zillion recipes for them available with a quick search online, so go look for one that may combine some of your favourite flavours.  I didn’t love the coconut pineapple, I wasn’t mad about the ranch flavours, but I was coo-coo for the nacho flavoured and the cheesy flavoured.  So I tried a batch of cheesy ones this weekend!

Provided below is a recipe I found on the WONDERFUL ‘RAW GURU” site.  Here’s a link to the recipe, which includes both dehydrator and oven methods.

Cheesy Chips at Raw Guru

I must report that I made 2 small modifications to this recipe, however….

1) because it’s just little ‘ole me, I used one bunch of Kale.  Two would have produced too many chips (and silly me…I now know that there’s no such thing after making this recipe, but hey…) but I didn’t reduce the coating at all because I’m BIG ON FLAVOUR and I didn’t find that there was too much.

2) I threw in about 3 TBLSP of nutritional yeast as well, because I love the flavour and wanted super cheesy chips.  I have no regrets for having done so…..   Nutritional yeast, if you are unaware, is a flaky yellowish deactivated food yeast.  It doesn’t have the same odour, uses, or flavour as bread yeast.  I buy mine in bulk at Kardish, but I see online that “Bob’s Red Mill” (which is available in many grocery stores) also produces it, so you may be able to find it where it is most convenient for you.

Making the chips was so very easy.  I washed the kale, and tore the leaves of one bunch into bite-sized pieces (discarding the tough stems) and put the leaves into a large bowl.  In a blender I combined all the ingredients, which (once blended) I poured over top the kale and started to massage the mixture into the leaves.  It took a whopping 3 minutes to perfectly coat them all, then I spread them out into a single layer onto my dehydrator trays.  On the whole, 10 minutes tops.

I put my coated kale in the dehydrator around 9pm, woke up at 9am the next day (hey…it was the weekend…) and they were PERFECT (and I don’t use that word very often) crunchy chips.

I now take them to work for a satisfying snack, and they’re my ‘go to’ when lurking about the kitchen, rooting for something to chow down on.  And they’re so wonderfully noisy, they’re the perfect revenge when watching a movie with that special someone who has been driving you bonkers with their nacho chips or popcorn chewing all those years….

Tasty AND revenge enabling?  What are you waiting for?!