Remember to send your favorite meal, plus a recipe for any dish in it, to lward@dailyindependent.
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Deadline is Jan. 22; I’ll share what I learn in the Jan. 29 edition.
There’s more to food than mere cooking.
That’s according to Denise and Meadow Linn, authors of the cookbook “The Mystic Cookbook: The Secret Alchemy of Food.”
Their theory is it’s possible to add a spiritual or magical dimension to cooking that isn’t attainable by just following a recipe.
For instance, don’t you know someone who makes a special dish like no one else? Others have asked for the recipe and the recipe has been given freely, but no one makes it quite like the person from whom that recipes originates.
It’s the same reason your special holiday salad or cake, the one your mother made, doesn’t taste the same as the one she made, even though you’re following her recipe to a T.
The authors contend your dish is missing that special, magical facet and they believe their cooking guidance can complete your skills in the kitchen with the book’s more than 40 recipes and 100 photos.
“The Mystic Cookbook” by Meadow and Denise Linn is published by Hay House and is available from hayhouse.com.
Denise Linn (DeniseLinn.com), is an international lecturer and healer who also is the author of 18 books and a popular radio talk-show host. Meadow Linn (MeadowLinn.com) writes a food and lifestyle column for a newspaper in Seattle and has a well-respected blog, Savor the Day. She is the chef for the workshops she and her mother present around the world.
Here are some recipes found in the cookbook.
1 cauliflower, cut or broken into small bite-size pieces
11⁄2 pounds gold potatoes (6-8 smallish), chopped into 1⁄2 inch cubes (skin on)
1 pound sweet potato (1 large or 2 small), peeled and chopped into 1⁄2-inch cubes
¼ cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
1 teaspoon sea salt
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the cauliflower and gold potatoes. Peel and chop the sweet potato. Combine the vegetables and divide evenly between the two baking sheets.
Unless it’s a very hot day, coconut oil is generally solid. I usually spoon it into a measuring cup and then pinch off bits to distribute among the vegetables. With clean hands, I massage the oil into the vegetables. Sprinkle the cumin seeds and salt over the vegetables, and mix (with hands).
Roast until the vegetables are caramelized on the outside and soft and delicious on the inside, about 1 hour. Halfway through, stir them with a metal spatula and rotate the sheets from top to bottom.
SECKEL PEARS IN MULLED RED WINE
11⁄2 cups sugar
1 750-ml. bottle of full-bodied red wine
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
3 star anise pods
5 whole cloves
4 3-inch-long strips of orange peel, bitter white pith scraped or cut off
12 seckel pears, ripe but not overly soft
In a medium-sized pot over medium heat, combine the sugar and wine. (If the pot is any larger, the pears will not be adequately covered by the wine.) Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Add the cinnamon, star anise, cloves and orange peel. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, peel the pears. Be sure to leave the stem intact for the prettiest presentation. Add the pears to the simmering wine. Adjust the temperature as needed so that the pears poach in liquid that’s just barely simmering with only occasional bubbles (don’t boil!). Poach until the pears are soft and tender, about 11⁄2 hours. If the wine doesn’t fully cover the pears, use a spoon to “baste” them from time to time and gently turn them over. This will ensure even cooking and color distribution.
Serve warm (but not hot) with vanilla ice cream.
‰Leftover syrup can be frozen to make a delicious slushy or use it as a base for festive cocktails.
‰Seckel pears are small and sweet and make for an elegant dessert when poached in red wine and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
SMOKED SALMON CROSTINI
1 baguette, cut into 1⁄4 inch thick slices (cut at an angle to increase the surface area)
1⁄4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1 8-ounce package of smoked wild salmon
1⁄4 cup capers
1⁄4 cup red onion, minced
zest of 2 lemons
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a sharp bread knife, slice the bread at an angle into 1⁄4-inch thick slices.
To prepare the crostini, put the bread slices into a large bowl and drizzle the olive oil on top. Toss the bread with the olive oil until evenly coated. If you want to be more precise about this, you could “paint” the olive oil on each side of the bread with a pastry brush. I find, however, that although tossing the bread and oil in a bowl isn’t refined or precise, it gets the job done, and fast.
Distribute the bread slices between two baking sheets and toast in the oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Halfway through, rotate from top to bottom, and using tongs, turn over each slice of bread. Remove from the oven and cool slightly.
When the crostini are cool enough to handle, spread them with a thin layer of cream cheese and place a slice of smoked salmon on top. Top with the capers, red onion and lemon zest.
I like to prepare them assembly-line style. I coat each crostini with cream cheese before moving on to the smoked salmon, then capers, followed by onion and finally lemon.
AND APPLE SOUP
1 tablespoon coconut oil (or butter or olive oil)
1 cup onion, diced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated
11⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon curry powder
2 pounds carrots, peeled and chopped
1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk (about 12⁄3 cup)
4 cups water, plus more if soup is too thick
1⁄2 pound apples (approx. 1 large apple), peeled, cored and cut into chunks
Chopped cilantro and plain yogurt, for garnish
In a large pot over medium-low, melt the coconut oil and sauté the onion and ginger with the salt and curry powder, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5-10 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel and chop the carrots and apple. When the onions are soft, add the carrots and apple and continue to sauté for a few more minutes. Add the coconut milk and water to the pot and increase the heat. Bring the soup to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
When the carrots and apples are soft, after 20 or 30 minutes of simmering, purée the soup until smooth using either a blender or an immersion blender. If using a blender, only fill the canister halfway and purée in batches to prevent the hot soup from splattering. I also recommend removing the middle part of the blender lid and placing a clean dishtowel or paper towel over the hole while blending. This will allow the steam to escape.
If you find the soup is too thick, add warm water until you reach your desired consistency. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt and chopped cilantro. The tartness of the yogurt nicely balances the sweetness of the carrots and apples in the soup.
While I don’t claim to be an expert cook, I do like to cook and love to eat. Readers are encouraged to send questions about food and cooking; I’ll try to find the answers. Also, if you’re looking for a specific recipe, send your request, or if you can offer a recipe to someone looking for something specific, please send e-mail to email@example.com.