Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tonics, Elixirs and Potions

This week I have been experimenting with tonics.  I have one listed on my "Vegan Dinner Series" and I need a good recipe. While up in Maine I ventured to DuckFat and had a house made tonic. It was fabulous. So I have been experimenting with various herbal blends, with and without vinegars, sparkling water etc. I imagine myself as an old time snake oil salesman, developing my magic elixir of healing.

The Vagabondchef Restorative Tonic

 Yields 1 quart of Tonic

1 Tb   Green Cardamom
1 Tb   Panchipuri Spice Mix
8 ea    Whole Clove
2 Tb   Chopped Ginger Fresh
2 Tb   Cacao Nips
1/2 t   Black Cumin
1 ea    Whole Lemon cut in half
1/2 t   Fennel Seed
1/4 c   Mint leaves
1/8 t   Cayenne
4 t      Stevia leaf
1 t     Balsamico Vinegar - The thicker the better - don't skimp here. (or anywhere)
Place all ingredients into French press of other vessel pour boiling water over top and steep

Serve hot or chill and serve iced.  To preserve the rich flavor make ice cubes from the tonic ahead of time.
A splash of sparkling water will add a nice fizz to the beverage.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Some of the few items I will try to grow this season.
Greenhouse is complete, soil has arrived, pots are stacked and ready.

Now I just need the snow and ice to go away.

brussel sprouts
hot peppers
sweet basil
thia basil
sugar snap peas

Monday, February 24, 2014

Spiced sunflower-sesame seed puree

This puree was used as one of the components of my Vagabondchef Vegan Dinner series courses.  It is extremely rich and has a great mouth feel.  It can be used as a stand alone spread or with other components.

I came up with it due to the fact that some of the guests had peanut allergies. I plan on using it alot. 

  1. Spiced sunflower and sesame seed puree

2 cups  toasted sunflower seeds
1 cup    toasted sesame seeds
2 Tb     Coconut oil
1/2 cup Unrefined extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tb   Zatar
1/2 Tb   Ras el Hanout   
tt           sea salt
tt           grains of paradise

 Place all toasted ingredient and spices in to vitamix, add melted coconut oil and olive oil, blend well.  You may need to add small amounts of warm water to adjust the consistency.  Once the consistency is reached adjust the final seasoning. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

House dried tomato coulis

I first learned the basics for this sauce back in the late 90's in Sandpoint, Idaho when I was working at a French Bistro of sorts.  It had the usual Chef/Owner who partied to much, took liberties with the female waitstaff and bullied his wife and staff.  A sad statement of the times that this was what I had come to expect in the smaller businesses. 

This sauce was used on crepes and ofr some of the lighter seafood dishes.  It is bright, fresh and enhances the flavor of the tomato, while almost eliminating the acidic nature.

House Dried Tomato Coulis

20 each   Roma Tomatoes
2   each   Cloves Garlic
8   each   Fresh Basil Leaves
1   each   Sprig Fresh Oregano
1   cup     Unfiltered Extra Virign Olive Oil
tt              Sea salt
tt              Black pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half or quarter, smash the garlic and pick all the herbs off of the vines.
Place all the ingredients into a dehydrator and set for about 48 hours on 115F.  This will dry the ingredients enough to achieve the desired result.  The tomatoes should be dry but still soft.

Add all the ingredients to a sauce pot and cover with water (you can add some dry white wine if you like), bring to a simmer and continue cooking until the tomato bulks up and can be smashed with a fork.  At  this point blend with a hand blender if you would like a rustic coulis or place in the vita-mix and puree for an elegantly smooth texture.  Add the oil to adjust the texture at this point.

Season to taste.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Divine Dinner : Vegan 5 course

 The Divine Dinner
Vegan Christmas Dinner

Roasted Mushrooms
With a Toasted Pecan Puree
Dehydrated Tomato Chips
Non-Alcoholic Sangria Sparkler

Caramelized Onion Herbal Consommé
Baby Vegetable Garden
2012 Gavi, La Luciana, Araldica, Italy

Baked Sweet Potato Pave
With Cumin Scented Cauliflower Rice
Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Crispy shallots
2011 Beaujolais-Village, Louis Jadot, France

Fennel and Pomegranate Salad
With Watercress, Pomelo Supremes and Radish
Fennel Orange Vinaigrette
2009 Pinot Noir, Bear Boat, Sonoma Coast, California

Baked Thai Tofu Skewer
Butternut Squash, Lentil Daal, and Crispy Chick Peas
Over Spiced Seed Butter - Carrot Puree
Finished with Fried Sage and Lemon Oil
N.V. Blanc de Noirs, Chandon, California

Fresh Vegetable Pickles

Herb and Sea Salt Focacchia Bread

Pappadam Crackers