Monday, February 17, 2014

Middle Eastern Swiss Chard Soufflé

This soufflé incorporates many classic Middle Eastern ingredients found in Palestinian and Israeli cooking. The flavor reminds me a bit of spanakopita. Since I don’t eat filo dough because of the gluten, I love to do this soufflé for that Mediterranean-type meal.


5 eggs (yolks and whites to be separated)
½ cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp. brown rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ c. finely diced onion
2 large crushed garlic cloves
4 oz. crumbled goat feta cheese
1 large bunch of Swiss chard (about 8-10 leaves)
½ c. chopped parsley
¼ c. chopped cilantro
1 tsp. dill
½ tsp. black pepper
salt to taste
2 lemons


Preheat the oven to 350°. Pull the central stems from the chard and chop it into small pieces. Do this by placing about 3 leaves together, rolling them up, and cutting across in thin strips, then cutting through the strips perpendicular to chop them down smaller. Chop the parsley, cilantro, and onion. Put the chard, parsley, cilantro, and onion into a large vegetable steamer in a large stew pot (it’s OK if some of the veggies fall over into the water below but try to keep as much as possible out of the water to retain minerals). Make a little well in the top of the vegetables and put the crushed garlic in it. Steam the vegetables for 4 minutes.

Separate the yolks and whites. Place the whites into a mixing bowl by themselves to be used shortly. Note that this recipe only works if the eggs are cold because the egg whites will need to be beaten stiff. The yolks go into a mixing bowl to be blended with the other ingredients.

Combine the egg yolks, mayonnaise, flour, baking powder, dill, and pepper in a mixing bowl. Press all liquid out of the vegetables, then add them to the egg yolk mixture. Blend all the ingredients well. Fold in the crumbled feta so that it is evenly distributed.

Shake a little salt into the egg whites as this will help them beat up fluffy. Beat them on high until they are stiff and stand in peaks when you lift the beaters out. Grease a deep eight-inch round casserole dish. Add the egg whites to the mixture of other ingredients and fold them gently together in a sort of sudsy soup.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350°. Check to be sure the soufflé is done by inserting a knife in the middle. It should come out clean with no gooey mixture stuck to it. Bake for longer if the soufflé is not done. You have to serve the soufflé immediately if you want it to be admired for its fluffy appearance because it will drop swiftly, but it will still taste delicious after it drops.

Cut the lemon into wedges and serve on the side. Squeeze a little lemon on your portion of soufflé for a slice of perfection.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Acorn Bread (Gluten-Free)

Refer to the recipe entry explaining how to make acorn meal. This is a variation on a cornbread recipe that includes acorn meal, which gives the bread a distinctive unusual nutty flavor.


½ c. acorn meal
¾ c. yellow cornmeal
¾ c. brown rice flour
¼ c. flax seed meal
2½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
4 tbsp. maple syrup
2 eggs
1½ c. plain yogurt
¼ c. water
¼ c. butter


Combine the dry ingredients and blend well. Beat the eggs. Melt the butter. Combine the wet ingredients. Put the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend just until moistened and no dry pockets of dry ingredients remain.

Put the batter in an eight-inch square baking dish. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 425º for 25-30 minutes. Insert a knife to see if it’s done and continue to bake for a few more minutes if the inside is still wet.

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

Acorn Meal

I find it comforting to know that if all the systems collapse and I have to forage in the woods for food, I know how to make acorns edible. On the other hand, it would be much more difficult to do render acorns edible without my food processor and oven. Acorn meal is an exotic and flavorful addition to a number of recipes. Refer to my acorn bread recipe for a basic use for acorn meal.

To make acorn meal you first collect acorns. The smaller the cap, the less bitter the acorn. To begin with, you pound the acorn with a hammer to crack it open and then you remove the outer shell. Once you have a stack of inner acorn meat, you throw that into your food processor and spin it until it is ground down into a fine meal.

Next you must leach the acid out of the acorns so that they are no longer bitter. Put approximately 1 cup of acorn meal into a jar and cover it with approximately 2 cups of water. Put a cloth napkin over the top and hold it in place with a rubber band. Let the acorn meal stand in the water. The Natives would leach the acid out of acorn meal in the old days by letting it sit in a flowing stream of clean water. It takes about a week to remove the acid from the acorn meal. Change the water at least once every day. Twice is better. During the course of the week, the water will become clearer. You can take a little taste of the acorn meal to see if it tastes bitter, but after a week of soaking in the water, the acorn meal should be relatively free of acid.

Spread the acorn meal out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put it in the oven on a very low temperature, about 150° or 175°, for 3-4 hours until it is dry. It will turn dark in color. You can also put the acorn meal on top of a wood stove for a couple of days to dry out slowly, or use a food dehydrator to dry it. Once it is basically dry, throw it back into the food processor to separate out the individual pieces. Store it in the freezer so that it doesn’t lose nutritional value. 

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!