Thursday, May 26, 2016

How to make Crock Pot Kalua Pig

Kalua pig is a whole pig that is smoked and traditionally cooked in an underground imu. According to this, the history of Kalua Pig goes back to the 1900's. The ancient Hawaiians would dig a huge pit and prepare it for cooking whatever they wanted - usually pigs, chickens, fish, or vegetables. Kalua pig is notably known at luaus.

Over the years, the process of cooking kalua pig has been modernized. It can now be cooked in the oven or it can be cooked in a crock pot - I have done it both ways. Today I decided to up how I cook it in crock pot and let it cook the entire day. I used some ti leaves to help with the cooking process, if you don't have it, heavy duty tin foil will work just as well. Here's what how I did it =

 I have a ti leaf plant from Hawaii growing in a pot in my living room. I cut some of the leaves so I could lay my piece of pork around it. Ti leaves are used often in Hawaiian cooking - it is used in place of tin foil.

To prep the leaves, a paring knife was used to cut out the hard stem in the center.

They were alternated on a piece of tin foil.

This is a two poundish piece of pork, and using my paring knife, I stuck it in the meat and twirled the knife to make a whole.

Several whole garlic cloves were stuffed in each hole.

All stuffed.

Next, the whole pork was salt and peppered - top and bottom. 
This is the back side.

Some Wright's Liquid Smoke was poured over the surface of the pork, letting it drip underneath.

The top of the pork was covered with more ti leaves, then secured close with the foil. 

About a 1/4 cup of water was added to the crock.

Set the pork in . . .

set it to low, put the cover on, and walked away. 

It was taken out about 8 hours later.

Meat comes right off with tongs.

The pork was placed in a medium baking dish and shredded with 2 forks, then set it aside.

Cabbage was sliced and put it in a pot.

Shredded pork along with some of the accumulated pan juices was added to a pot, and cooked it until the cabbage was tender.

I enjoyed mine with some cauliflower rice and potato salad that I had made.

Jim doesn't like his with cabbage, so I kept some of the meat aside for him. Dinner was very tasty and enjoyable, and there is enough left for us both to have a great lunch too.

Happy Cooking!!

                                                                                                                                         Print Recipe

Crock Pot Kalua Pig

Hawaiian style roasted pig cooked in a crock pot. *This could alternatively, be cooked in an oven if no crock pot is handy.

Boneless pork loin or shoulder
Salt/pepper - I use kosher salt
**Up to 2 tablespoons Liquid smoke
Whole garlic cloves
Up to 1/2 cup Water
Sliced cabbage

- Take your pork, and using a paring knife, insert holes throughout the top surface of the pork - can insert holes on the sides too. - Insert 1 garlic clove for each hole made.
- Salt and pepper the entire pork - top and bottom, and place on ti leaf or tin foil. - Add up to 2 tablespoons of liquid smoke - this depends on the size of your pork. Liquid smoke can be over powering, so you don't want to use a lot.  - Wrap up the pork, place up to 1/2 cup of water in the your crock, insert pork and turn crock pot on low. - Let this cook for about 8 hours. - After cooking, place pork back in the crock or roasting pan, and shred with 2 forks. 
- If cooking with cabbage, place sliced cabbage in a pot with pan juices and add shredded pork. Taste for seasoning and add more water if necessary - you don't want the dish to be dry, you want some juices to pour over your rice. 

*If crock pot is not handy, place pork in a shallow roasting pan and place in a preheated 375 degree oven for 3 - 4 hours.
**Two tablespoons is about right for a 5 pound piece of pork.

I always welcome friendly critiques and comments or questions. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please feel free to leave a message here or email if you prefer. If you leave a message here, please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Cashew Butter Teff Cookies

These cookies made with teff flour and cashew butter are soooo good. I have made these once before - and they were delicious, and because they're small, you can have two or three and not feel guilty about it. These cookies are a riff of this recipe I found.

They bake for only 15 minutes, and brown evenly. One batch makes A LOT - so this would be great for bake sales or cookie swaps.

They have just the right amount of sweetness using maple syrup.

They crunch slightly, they don't crumble - they hold together real well.

I doubled up about two cookies to make four bigger ones. I will make some dairy free ice cream this weekend and make ice cream sandwiches for me - yum!

To get started, first you have to make your cashew butter. Of course you can buy cashew butter in the store, but why would you do that when it's so expensive? Plus you don't know how long it's been sitting on the store shelf and in a warehouse before delivery. 

Raw cashews are cheap, especially if you can buy them in bulk. This recipe takes no time to make and you have fresh cashew butter. You can add a sweetener if not using it in a recipe, but for cookies, I like to leave them unsweetened. My recipe makes the perfect amount of cashew butter for these cookies. I followed this recipe to make my cashew butter. I've done this many times with sunflower seeds, and they turned out great.

After making the butter, just follow the recipe to make the cookies - it is that easy. All the ingredients for these cookies can be found at a natural food store or any store that sells dried food in bulk. You could also find these in a regular grocery store. 

Print Recipe

How to Make Cashew Butter
1 1/3 c Raw cashews
2-4 tbs Coconut oil
1-2 tsp of honey - optional if not using in a recipe

- Place cashews in a food processor and turn on. Let process until you see it come together. 
- Add coconut oil 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to process until it comes together. 
 - Use immediately or store in an air tight container in cool place away from the sun. Do not place in refrigerator, they will harden.

 Based on

Print Recipe

Cashew Butter Teff Cookies
Cookies made with cashew butter and teff flour. They are vegan = gluten free, dairy free, egg free and sugar free. Yields 45 small cookies.

1 1/2 c Teff flour
1/2 tsp Sea salt
1/2 c Coconut oil
1/2 c Maple syrup
1 tsp Vanilla
1 c Cashew butter

- Mix together flour and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. 
- Melt the coconut oil in a large bowl. 
- Combine the coconut oil with the remaining ingredients with a mixer. When well blended, add the dry ingredients. 
- Use a cookie scoop or a tablespoon measuring spoon and drop by rounded spoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. They do not spread, so you can put them close together. I used the palm of my hand to flatten, and used a fork to put the iconic tine marks on top . 
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. 

Based on

These Cookies are great when you just need a little something sweet to cap off a delicious meal. I hope you try my recipe, I'm sure you like these as much as I do.

Happy Baking and thanks for reading!!

I always welcome friendly critiques and comments or questions. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please feel free to leave a message here or email if you prefer. If you leave a message here, please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Vegan Cauliflower Flatbread

My diet has changed again. I have been gluten free since 2007, and seriously dairy free since 2014. Since 2014, I had to give up almonds - which meant almond flour and almond milk. This meant I had to go back to using rice flour - I was not happy. Well, now it seems like rice has been doing a number to my tummy - makes me bloated and after eating dinner, I get real tired. So I tried the Elimination Diet and avoided rice and also, eggs - because I am suspect of them too (this I will save for another blog post). 

I stopped eating rice and anything made with rice flour for two weeks. I have been buying a lot of cauliflower and eating cauliflower rice. Around the third week. I had no cauliflower rice for dinner, which was my rice substitute, so I ate a tiny bit of rice. About 45 minutes after dinner, I was seriously fighting sleep - I was so tired, plus I felt bloated. That was my proof that rice is off my table - literally.

For Mother's Day, we were going on a family picnic. I was making sandwiches for everyone - I had nothing gluten free for me. I had a head of cauliflower in the fridge, and knew there must be a recipe for a quick cauliflower bread. I Googled, and first I found this recipe - a flat bread recipe. I didn't really want a whole flat bread, but I liked the ingredients, especially the flax eggs. I kept this recipe on the side and I Googled some more and I found this recipe - individual flat breads. I used to make bread like this using almond flour and it was wonderful. I used an egg ring as a mold and I loved it. 

I then had a light bulb moment. What if I take the ingredients of the first recipe and cook it like the second recipe? And off I went . . . 

Here is the combined recipe I printed out for my use. My changes are in writing. For my flour, I have been using a mix of teff and arrowroot. Instead of flax eggs, I like chia eggs. I feel they work so much better. I ground up my chia seeds in my spice grinder so it would process better. I did add some dairy free cheese and granulated garlic (that I didn't write in), and I left out the rosemary.

Following the instructions of the recipe, I put everything in a large bowl. To help incorporate the chia eggs with the cauliflower mixture, I ended up using my hands and kind of squished everything gently through my fingers.

This is my egg ring - I bought two of these at a garage sale and use them often. Both to make recipes like this and to fry eggs for my husband, Jim's, sandwiches (be sure to spray with oil before using).

I put in some of the cauliflower mix - I filled it up.

I actually packed it in using my fingers.

Here they are all ready for baking. This recipe actually made eight pieces of cauliflower bread.

This after the first baking - nice color.

Here they are all done - most of the darker color is from the teff flour. 

See how thick it is?

Some vegan mayo on the left one and ham spread on the right. I did end up adding chopped onions on top after I took this pic.

Sandwich all done.

Side view.

Action shot - I took a couple of bites so you could see that it holds together very well. This was so yummy and my tummy was so happy.

I am so pleased with this recipe and will definitely be making it again.

I hope you try my recipe version, and if you do, please tell me how you like it.

Happy baking!!

print recipe

Vegan Cauliflower Flatbread
Cauliflower flatbread that is gluten free, dairy free, and egg free

3 tbs. chia seeds

9 tbs. warm water
1 head of cauliflower
*3/4 c. flour of choice
2 tbs. EVOO
1/2 tsp. granulated garlic or garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
**1/4 tsp. dried herbs - optional

- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix together chia seed meal and water in a large bowl (I actually process my seeds in a spice grinder so I don't see the seeds, this makes the eggs really thick), set aside.
- Make cauliflower rice by adding cauliflower florets and stems to a food processor and pulsing until it looks like rice ­ you may need to do this in small batches.
- In the large bowl with the chia eggs, mix together 3 packed cups of cauliflower rice,  flour, EVOO, garlic, salt, and herb if using. I ended up using my hands to get the chia eggs incorporated.
- Spread mixture dividing into 6 flat circles on to parchment lined baking sheet - if you have an egg ring, use that and pack it in. Again, I used my hands.
- Bake for 10 minutes then flip over and bake for about 7 minutes more. Then cool on a wire rack. 

*Note: if using coconut flour, add more flax eggs and/or olive oil because coconut flour absorbs a lot of liquid.
**Suggested herbs were rosemary, basil, oregano or thyme.

I always welcome friendly critiques and comments or questions. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Please feel free to leave a message here or email if you prefer. If you leave a message here, please be sure that your email address is sited so you can receive my response. Thanks!