Good Things Come in Small Packages

People love eating me all around the world.  I am like a warm, cozy blanket for your taste buds and tummy.  You can fill me with all sorts of goodies, meat, and veggies.  What am I?  No, I am not a calzone.  Go smaller and Asian….you got it – Dumplings!  Kale and I can eat them every day if we could.  We aren’t sure if it’s in our blood, but there is just something in those small puffy pillows of savoury meat and veggies that calls to us.  A few years ago, Kale and I took a dumpling making class and loved it.  Ironically, it was taught by a very knowledgeable non-Asian guy.  Making dumplings at home is ideally a social activity; therefore, Kale and I took off to the Granville Island Public Market to shop for the ingredients, then headed back to her place to make them.

But before we dove into making the dumplings, we fortified ourselves with a late breakfast of tea and scones.   It felt like we had stepped back in time to when we were kids playing with our tea sets.  Although now, we drank fragrant lavender rooibos tea and nibbled on blueberry-lemon-oat scones using Kale’s sophisticated fine china.

Superfoods in our dumplings:
Turkey – This meat is lean, high in protein and has a good amount of iron, phosphorous, zinc , potassium and vitamin B’s. We selected the free-run and non-medicated turkey.
Prawns – Good protein with Omega-3’s, B vitamins, and is also high in iron, as well as zinc, selenium, copper, magnesium and phosphorous.
Shitake mushrooms – Has a particularly high amount of copper, which may be beneficial to heart health.  These mushrooms are also high in B vitamins and selenium.  It contains lentinan which has anti-fungal properties and can also protect against cancer.
Chives – A good source of vitamin K which is important for the production of osteocalcin, a bone protein.
Ginger – An anti-inflammatory and is full of antioxidants to support its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic properties.

Granville Island Kake2Kale

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Inspiration from a Farmers Market – Miso Mushroom Pâté & Oat Crackers

Unless you’re growing your own vegetables, it’s hard to beat locally grown produce from your neighbourhood farmers market.  Supporting markets are great all around – we’re helping local businesses, minimizing the carbon footprint and enjoying more nutrients from fresher foods.  We both enjoy the atmosphere and the opportunity to meet the growers or food artisans.  In particular, I love photographing the textures and colours of the food on display, plus the interesting proprietors. – {Kale}

There are various Vancouver Farmers Markets running throughout the week.  Most are packed with shoppers and lookers on the weekends.  To avoid the crowds, we decided to shop midweek at one of the lesser known markets – Main Street Station Farmers Market.  Three blocks from my home is the most established farmer’s market in the city and I must confess that going to it no longer holds any pleasure as it has become very crowded and I feel like I am in a NYC subway station during rush hour.  Not fun.  So we found the Main St. Market refreshing in that we could really take our time with the vendors and check out their goods.

Markets in the Western world are vastly different than in Asia.  When I lived in Hong Kong I had an experience in a market that was like something out of a horror movie.  My friend and I were in a rush to get to a dinner and he knew of a shortcut.  So I blindly followed him and he lead me through a market after hours, oh boy!  This market was a permanent one so it was enclosed, it was super scary. The whole place was dark and dank with who knows what hiding underneath big tarps.  As I was lead through the labyrinth there was a big basket in the corner with something poking out of it, aaaaargh!  I looked in and it was a steer’s head with most of the skin peeled off, I apologize to any vegetarians who are reading this.  There was another incident after this in Hong Kong that made me decide to give up eating red meat for a long while.  – {Kake}

Main Street Market 2 Kake2Kale

Our picks of superfoods from the market are:

Radishes -High in vitamin C, folic acid and anthocyanins, which is an antioxidant that may be good for heart health and may be a cancer-fighter.
Wheat Grass -Powerhouse of nutrients, full of vitamins, minerals, chlorophyll and enzymes.  It is 20 times more nutrient dense than other vegetables.
Garlic Scapes -These are the flower stalks which sprouts from the garlic bulb.  They have the same nutritional benefits of garlic.  The scapes is a great way to get the benefits of the garlic without the strong flavour of the clove.
Sea Asparagus – Rich in iodine, supports healthy thyroid functioning.  It is also high in minerals ie. iron, calcium, as well as vitamins A, C and amino acids, which are the building blocks for protein.

Main Street Market 1 Kake2Kale

One of the vendors at the market was sampling a veggie pâté and it inspired me to make a riff on it.  Wonderful earthy mushrooms in the next stall gave me the idea to make it the main ingredient.  Adding miso gives a deeper salty flavour without adding salt. And what to spread this pâté on? Homemade crackers of course!  It is not difficult. If you can make pie crust, you can make crackers.

Miso Mushroom Pâté makes 1.5 cups

  • 1 T. butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms (any) coarsely chopped
  • ½ medium onion roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly diced
  • 1 T. sherry
  • 2 t. miso paste
  • 1 cup cashews (soaked for 2 hours, then drained)
  • Black pepper (to taste)

Directions:

  • Melt the butter over medium heat, then add garlic and onions, sauté for about 5 minutes until onions are translucent.  Then add mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes, then add sherry, continue cooking for another 2 minutes.
  • Put the mushroom mixture and the rest of the ingredients into a good blender or a food processor and puree until smooth.  Chill for a couple of hours and serve in a pretty bowl, or like I did in a bell pepper.

Oat Crackers makes 30-40 crackers depending on size

  • ¾ cup *oat flour
  • ½ cup all purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 ½ t. baking powder
  • 1 T. sugar
  • ½ t. sea salt
  • 3 T. butter (cold)
  • 1 T. Camelina oil (or oil of your choice)
  • ¼ c. ice water
  • ¼ c. pumpkin seeds

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place dry ingredients in a bowl and using a whisk, stir to combine, then add the butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or two knives, until mixture resembles coarse pea size crumbs.  Then using a fork, stir in camelina oil and 1 tablespoon of water at a time until mixture starts to come together enough to form a ball.
  • Place the dough onto a floured surface and knead a few times, then roll the dough out between wax paper until it is ¼ inch thick.
  • Using cookie cutters, cut out the crackers and then transfer onto baking sheet.  Decorate with pumpkin seeds.  Bake until crackers are just start to brown, about 5-10 minutes.
  • If desired, melt some butter to brush onto baked crackers while still warm.

Go to our list of favourite superfoods to see the nutritional benefits of the superfoods – mushrooms, cashews, onions, oats and pumpkin seeds –  in these recipes.

*If you want to make this gluten free, use Pure Oats.

Eat healthy, live great! – {Kake}

Miso Mushroom Pate - Kake2Kale